It seems appropriate for Johnson to resign now that he has been fined for breaking his own laws (and still faces the possibility of more fines yet to come). The majority of his colleagues in parliament however still seem intent on continuing to support Johnson.
Like many others I wanted at the time to let my MP know about both my strength of opinion on this matter as well as wanting to know his stance on the issue. In my case this would be the Bracknell MP James Sunderland.
Liars and criminals like Johnson have no place occupying positions of trust and authority. Unlike so many of his colleagues my MP took the time to reply to my concerns. My email also made reference to other matters, but on the subject of Johnson his reply included the following (emphasis added by me):
I also note that alongside your comments on Plan B, you have also shared your view on recent events in No10 which have been laid out in the media. I regret that I know no more than you do about recent political decisions or events at No.10 last year. But like many, I am furious at the apparent lack of grip shown by officials and will be seeking assurances that appropriate action will be taken, even 12 months after the event. Like most people in the UK, my own family and I followed the rules and it does stick in the throat that some clearly did not. Something has also clearly gone wrong with the political machine at No.10 and it seems to have affected wider judgements too.
In respect of the PM, this has not been a good month and investigations are underway. I am not going to begin to defend against recent media reports on multiple issues as I am appalled, but daft things do sadly happen in politics, the salient facts are bound to emerge, and I am sure that appropriate action will be taken.
Perhaps the cynicism in politics is beginning to get to me, but when I read this part of his reply a few things come to mind: firstly the use of ‘lack of grip’ implies to me that there is more disquiet caused by the fact Johnson was caught out rather than his involvement with something so repugnant in the first place.
Secondly: ‘daft things do happen’. It might be the cynicism again, but personally this apparent attempt to minimise what was done is a little offensive. This isn’t something that can easily be dismissed, and despite all the claimed fury James Sunderland has yet to do anything of substance in response to recent events.
We also now know more about what happened since fines have been issued. Johnson is by definition guilty (why else would he pay the fine rather than contest it?). He is also by definition a criminal (in this case the fixed penalty notice or FPN was a way of dealing with a criminal offense and should not be confused with civil offenses or minimised by comparing it with more minor acts that can also result in fines).
So now that we all know, what will James Sunderland and other MPs like him be doing in response? Will they either actively support keeping a criminal liar in office or stay silent and do nothing to stop it? Or will he actually do something about it?
Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
We know that Johnson broke his own laws.
We know that he lied about it, possibly even misleading parliament in the process.
There simply is no excuse that can possibly justify him remaining in office.
Those that continue to support him claim that now is the wrong time to change leaders, but I would ask them this: if Johnson is incapable of understanding laws he created and that he begged us on national TV to follow on a daily basis then how is he even remotely suitable to be leading the country during a time of crisis?
I have sent the email included below to James Sunderland after the first fines were announced.
I will post the reply here if and when I receive one, but I really do hope that he will accept that loyalty goes both ways. It’s all very well the Prime Minister demanding loyalty but Johnson must also provide something worthy of that loyalty in the first place. In that respect Johnson is failing miserably.
How can James Sunderland continue to show any sort of loyalty to a Prime Minister completely incapable of demonstrating even basic common human decency, much less the sort of honesty and standards we ought to be able to expect from our elected representatives?
One final note: for anybody wanting to contact their MP I strongly recommend using the website www.writetothem.com. You only need to know your own post code to be able to find them and email them using that service.
Dear James Sunderland, Now that we know that Boris Johnson has been given at least one fine for law breaking and may face several more in the coming days I was wondering if you could say if you still support having a criminal who was unwilling to comply with the rules he himself had defined as Prime Minister? The anger hasn't dimmed and the situation hasn't changed. The loved ones people lost are still gone. The more vulnerable in society till feel abandoned and imprisoned in their own homes. Friends were still left to die without contact from others. Nothing has changed. The expectations haven't changed either: criminals, serial liars and frauds have no place occupying positions of high office. This goes well beyond party politics and it should hardly come as a surprise that many of us expect the biggest liar of all to leave his job, either willingly or otherwise. Yet propping up frauds and criminals is exactly what many of your colleagues seem to be supporting each time they visibly support Johnson. The idea that we shouldn't change leader in the middle of a war is equally farcical when - despite government claims to the contrary - we aren't leading efforts and such a replacement isn't new & has already happened before in much more serious circumstances (if any of your colleagues continue to put forward that argument, perhaps you could ask them what they think Chamberlain and Churchill would have made of such claims?) It really is ludicrous to use that as an excuse to dismiss multiple acts of illegal and morally questionable behaviour where each act would constitute a resigning matter in its own right. So I would like to ask you: will you be calling for Johnson to resign, and if not why not? Yours sincerely, Patrick Seurre