After the Commons Privileges Committee published its report on Partygate, saying Boris Johnson is a liar, I sent this tweet to Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central:
.@DawnButlerBrent you were thrown out of the Commons for calling @BorisJohnson a liar. Do you have a comment on this, now you have been proved to be correct? #PrivilegesCommittee #PartygateReport #PoliticsLive
— Mike Sivier (@MidWalesMike) June 15, 2023
She didn’t answer – at least, not directly. She didn’t have to.
The following day, an article by Ms Butler appeared in Metro – exhaustively detailing her feelings about having been thrown off the Parliamentary estate in 2021 and her thoughts about the situation now.
She reckons the system is broken because there is no way to highlight wrongdoing by people in the highest offices in the UK without being penalised for it – and she wants change.
But she admits she isn’t likely to get it, because a corrupt House of Commons wants to keep its corrupt system. Or at least, that’s how it seems to This Writer.
Ms Butler stated:
I feel vindicated.
But I am also more adamant than ever that the system must change.
When I first labelled Boris Johnson a liar, I was ridiculed by Tory MPs, criticised by sections of the press and received a barrage of hateful messages online.
Perhaps worst of all, I felt unsupported by many in my own party.
What kept me going in those dark days was the masses of positive messages I received from the public, outweighing the abuse. So many people wanted to thank me, saying how refreshing it was to see someone call out the lies.
And now that a committee of MPs has made a ruling on Boris Johnson’s cavalier approach to the truth, I’m more glad than ever that I made that stand.
But she said changing the system is uphill work:
We need the system to be strengthened and mechanisms put in place to ensure that Prime Ministers like Johnson are tackled early on, to minimise damage to our democracy. We cannot go through this again.
Because it could happen again. His casual approach to the truth, after all, paid off for him until now. He held the highest office in the land and has been making millions since.
And we must ensure that when they have broken the rules, they cannot run away from accountability.
The most frustrating element for me is the fact that the Prime Minister is the ultimate arbiter of the ministerial code. When Johnson was PM, he was the judge and jury over whether he or any of his ministers had broken said code – as evidenced when he overruled his own ethics adviser to decide that then Home Secretary Priti Patel could stay in a job.
In 2021, I tabled an Early Day Motion 383 stating that trust in the code had been eroded, and that breaches should be investigated by the House as a whole rather than the Prime Minister. To date, I’ve received an impressive 105 signatures.
So just 106 out of 650 MPs believe the current corrupt system – that allowed Boris Johnson to lie repeatedly to the nation and ensure that his cronies kept the top governmental jobs, no matter how badly they misbehaved – should change.
It seems to This Writer that the problem isn’t just Boris Johnson but also most of the other MPs infesting the House of Commons – including those members of Ms Butler’s own party who did not support her when she was victimised for telling the truth and do not support her call for reform now.
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