Roger Gale offers his two cents on the Boris vote:
“Roger Gale is on the line… what are you hearing?”
“I’m hearing what you’re hearing. I have no inside knowledge on this.”
Sir Roger Gale has called for the PM to resign. Again. He implied the PM should go in December 2020 as we headed towards no deal with the EU. He did so again in December 2021 over Partygate. He then confirmed on 17 December 2021 that his 1922 letter was with Graham Brady. Then in April 2022, Sir Roger decided the situation in Ukraine was so grave, and the PM performing so well, that it was “immature and irresponsible” for Keir Starmer to use the moment to call on Boris to go. Now the hokey-cokeying MP is back to calling for the PM’s head.
Taking to Twitter this morning, he said the PM’s misleading of the House of Commons from the despatch box “is a resignation issue”
I believe that the PM has misled the HoC’s from the despatch box. That is a resignation issue. I have made my own position clear. It is now a matter for my Conservative parliamentary colleagues to decide whether or not to instigate a vote of no confidence.— Sir Roger Gale MP (@SirRogerGale) May 24, 2022
The people of Ukraine must be delighted that the “most serious international crisis since 1945” is over, and the UK can – in the April words of Sir Roger – afford to enjoy a “day of domestic reckoning”. Slava Ukraini!
In lieu of a No. 10 spokesperson on the media round this morning, Kay Burley invited Tory grandee Sir Roger Gale to give his thoughts on the ITV recording. Gale observed that “If this was in The Thick of It then people wouldn’t believe it, it would be a joke. Unfortunately it’s not funny.” He pointed out if Boris did mislead the Commons over the party it would be a breach of the ministerial code and be a resigning matter.
To be fair to the PM, Gale is a long-standing outspoken critic, so his comments might have been expected. Still, it’s funny to see Kay Burley having to ask questions about illegal lockdown parties on a certain anniversary…
UPDATE: Another Tory MP, Anne Marie Morris, also condemned the party:
Clearly there were rules in place that most of us were diligently following (despite how difficult they were) and they decided to break them. It's not on and, at the very least, they should admit their blatant error and apologise for breaking the rules they imposed on society.— Anne Marie Morris MP (@AnneMarieMorris) December 8, 2021
The Commons Standards Committee has found that Tory MPs Natalie Elphicke, Sir Roger Gale and Theresa Villiers should be suspended for one day over “an improper attempt to influence judicial proceedings”. Colonel Bob Sewart and Adam Holloway will also have to apologise to the House. The findings followed an investigation into their attempts to lobby judges ahead of a hearing in court of former MP Charlie Elphicke. They stupidly used Commons stationery to lobby the justices…
From the report:
The Members concerned had several avenues open to them by which they could legitimately have raised their concern over the issues at stake in the case. These included making representations to the court through the proper channels, as they were invited to do, and approaching the Government’s point of liaison with the judiciary, the Lord Chancellor. Despite having these alternative options, they chose to write privately to two senior judges to request their intervention in a decision that properly belonged to Mrs Justice Whipple and that would be made in accordance with the court’s normal processes. Their letters were, appropriately, disregarded and they were rebuked by the Lord Chief Justice. There is no suggestion that the Members concerned actually influenced the outcome of the hearing. But they sought to do so, and by acting as they did risked giving the impression that elected politicians can bring influence to bear on the judiciary, out of public view and in a way not open to others. Such egregious behaviour is corrosive to the rule of law and, if allowed to continue unchecked, could undermine public trust in the independence of judges.
We therefore agree with the Commissioner that, in sending their letters of 19 and 22 November 2020, Mrs Elphicke, Sir Roger, Mr Holloway, Col Stewart and Ms Villiers undertook an action which caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally, and was therefore a breach of paragraph 17 of the Code.
We further conclude, as a consequence of the above, that, by using House-provided stationery in order to do so, Mrs Elphicke, Sir Roger, Mr Holloway, Col Stewart and Ms Villiers also breached paragraph 16 of the Code.
Anti-Brexit backbencher Roger Gale was one of only two Tory MPs to oppose the Internal Market Bill at its second reading. Now he is upping his opposition to Government with an extraordinary call for Boris to resign if no deal is agreed with the EU. This would, of course, effectively give Brussels the power to get rid of the PM by rejecting any deal, something Guido is sure would surely tempt the likes of Von der Leyen. This morning Gale issued a statement saying:
“If Mr Johnson fails to reach an acceptable trade agreement with the EU the Prime Minister will also have failed the people of the United Kingdom. As a lifelong member of the Conservative Party, I believe that Mr Johnson’s position as Prime Minister would be untenable.
As an honourable man, he would have to make way for somebody more able to pick up the pieces, to re-unite the whole Country and to show the leadership that Great Britain and Northern Ireland deserves.”
Gale, who enthusiastically campaigned for Jeremy Hunt in the leadership election, is unlikely to win round many colleagues with this line of argument…
Senior Tories continue to slam the government following Brandon Lewis’s admission that the Internal Market Bill does break international law. This morning Sir Roger Gale told LBC he does expect justice secretary Robert Buckland to “fall on his sword” following the resignation of the government’s legal advisor Jonathan Jones.
Then this afternoon, former Tory leader and Brexiteer stalwart Lord Howard took to slamming the government in the Lords, criticising the damage done to the UK’s reputation for “probity and respect for the rule of law” following Lewis’s “five words” in the Commons. Stick with Guido as he brings you the latest updates on the government’s election promise to get Brexit done and end the arguing…