I have a very high regard for Grant Shapps. He’s a good friend, he’s a good minister, and I find it depressing that successive cabinet members are having to be wheeled out to try to defend what, in my view, is the indefensible. The Prime Minister, Grant says, was passing the door and raised a glass to somebody that was leaving. Well, forgive me, the most terminal form of leaving is a funeral and scores of my constituents had to attend funerals without being able to raise a glass in the company of friends for the departed. And they feel this very strongly indeed, there is no doubt about that.
But look, we can’t go on lurching from crisis to crisis. This distraction is something that we simply cannot afford. We’ve got a cost of living crisis. We’ve got a very dangerous and very serious situation in Ukraine. There’s the small matter of the Northern Ireland Protocol that has yet to be resolved. If you want to look into the party political arena, of course, there are two by-elections coming up in fairly short order. There are massive issues that the government, and particularly the Prime Minister, ought to be concentrating his energies upon, I think we all understand that. But this is a matter of probity and honesty and, as one of my colleagues in the House of Lords put it rather elegantly, this Prime Minister appears to have a fairly eccentric relationship with the truth.
24 May 2022 – Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP since 1983