I have been contacted by a number of people about the Fixed Penalty Notices that the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, and the Prime Minister’s wife received last week. I have already publicly stated that there was and remains no excuse for anyone breaking the law. (https://www.stephenhammond.net/news/my-statement-no10-parties). The investigations into the alleged rule breaking have not been completed and there may well be more fixed penalty notices issued.
I am completely clear that those who make the rules must not break them whether intentionally, through ignorance, or otherwise. The public have the right to expect that their leaders will observe the highest standards. I am proud of the British values of democracy, integrity in public life, and the rule of the law. I have always tried to promote these values as an MP and when privileged to serve as a Minister. Clearly, we only enjoy the privilege of the right to promote those values if we uphold them ourselves. As elected representatives we should seek to uphold this at all times. It is clear that the standards expected of those holding the highest office have not been met in recent months.
In Parliament this week MPs will address the very serious matter of whether the House was misled by statements made by members of the Government. If the allegation is proven, then if unintentional, the record must be corrected or if deliberate this would make the position of that Minister, whoever they are, untenable. It is a key tenet of our constitution that what is said at the Despatch Box must be factually accurate and is government policy. Any Minister who has knowingly misled the House of Commons should resign.
Whilst some dismiss ‘Partygate’ as about a quick drink after work or about cake; it isn’t. What it is about is trust in the Government and integrity in public life. I have done everything I can as a backbencher to ensure honesty and integrity in our political system is upheld.