If you’re just waking up, the Tories have lost both by-elections by significant margins and large swings – huge in the case of Tiverton – and the Tory chairman Oliver Dowden has just quit. His resignation letter spells out he believes the party “cannot carry on with business as usual,” though appears to take full blame. He concludes:
“I want to emphasise that this is a deeply personal decision that I have taken alone. I will, as always, remain loyal to the Conservative Party.”
Guido’s old enough to remember back to 2019, when a triple by-line op-ed from Rishi, Dowden and Robert Jenrick was seen as pivotal in building support for Boris among younger MPs. Now only one remains…
Dowden’s resignation letter in full:
As seems to be the case for all cabinet ministers over the last six months, Oliver Dowden’s having to distance himself from a booze-related story. A photo of a programme from a charity event in Dowden’s Hertfordshire constituency shows the Tory party chairman had donated a Boris-signed bottle of champagne to the event. The item’s description, however, was a very obviously pointed critique of the PM:
“A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the exemplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader!”
Oddly, plenty of lefties on Twitter seem to believe that the comment had been provided by Dowden himself and that it was jovially making light of partygate, rather than mocking the PM.
Perhaps you thought the Conservative party took partygate seriously. Last night a champagne bottle signed by @BorisJohnson was donated to a charity event in Hertfordshire by local MP and Tory party chairman @OliverDowden. Read the description. pic.twitter.com/FtjgvKcYKS— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) May 13, 2022
Dowden’s office has now clarified, saying “This item was donated in good faith several months ago for a local charity auction. Oliver Dowden had no prior knowledge of the description and this is obviously not his view.” Whatever performative outrage will the online left conjure up next?
Entries in the comments…