Tory MPs have today broken their silence to call on the Government to do more to deal with protests that are spinning out of hand and increasingly straying from the original demonstrations over police injustice. Last night Tory backbenchers Conor Burns and Gary Sambrook publicly expressed their disappointment with the boarding up of Churchill and failure to deal with vandals. Guido hears the Whips are telling MPs it will be reviewing the powers of Police and Crime Commissioners after complaints over police standing back and letting vandalism take place…
The Tory MPs’ WhatsApp group is also incensed. Now Guido can reveal increasing pressure is being placed on the Prime Minister for action to stop a burgeoning cultural revolution…
Blue wall Mansfield MP Ben Bradley tells Guido
“This is increasingly aggravating my constituents who aren’t activists, they aren’t politicos, but are just being enraged by this attack on our history and our culture. Government need to be absolutely clear and firm on this if we are to keep a lid on increasing tensions. I don’t want to see divisions increased by inaction.”
Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy adds
“We need leadership to defend the values and history of this country, not create a space that allows far-right activists with their perverted view of our history to do so.”
Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill tells Guido that without the police, constituents are taking matters into their own hands
“Nearly a thousand Whitby people have signed up to protect the Captain Cook monument in Whitby. They are worried that the police stood by in London as Churchill and the Cenotaph were attacked.”
Tatton MP Ester McVey added her voice to the mix
“Those destroying statues, monuments and our cenotaphs – symbols to the nation of those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedoms – should be called out for what they are, vandals. If these monuments need protecting, it should be through proper robust policing and not by covering them up.”
Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris is unimpressed
“To hide Churchill, our greatest Briton is appalling. There is one law in this country and we all must abide by it irrespective of who you are and stand up for our collective values.”
North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen has called on the spirit of Churchill.
“As Boris knows only too well appeasement is not the solution. With regard to dealing with the rioters we need “action this day”.”
Guido understands MPs are receiving enormous amounts of constituent correspondence over the unlawful tearing down of statues, with one northern MP telling Guido “this is bigger than Cummings”.
This morning Boris has responded with a Twitter thread, calling on people “to stay away from these protests”, which he says have been “sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence”. Read his words in full below:
“The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny.
It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protestors. Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial.
We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.
They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.
As for the planned demonstrations, we all understand the legitimate feelings of outrage at what happened in Minnesota and the legitimate desire to protest against discrimination.
Whatever progress this country has made in fighting racism – and it has been huge – we all recognise that there is much more work to do.
But it is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence. The attacks on the police and indiscriminate acts of violence which we have witnessed over the last week are intolerable and they are abhorrent.
The only responsible course of action is to stay away from these protests.”