Redditch MP calls for 'post-Johnson fresh start' - The Redditch Standard

Redditch MP calls for 'post-Johnson fresh start'

Redditch Editorial 7th Jul, 2022   0

REDDITCH’s MP Rachel Maclean has called for a ‘fresh start’ following the Prime Minister’s decision to stand down as Conservative Party leader.

Speaking after Boris Johnson announced today he had agreed to step down once a new leader had been elected by the party, Mrs Maclean said the Conservatives needed a new figurehead to ‘restore confidence in Government’.

Conservative MPs will now begin the process of choosing a new leader, the third time in six years the party has done so during its 12 years in Government.

Mrs Maclean, who resigned from her job as Safeguarding Minister on Wednesday (July 6), said the Prime Minister was right to resign.

“It was the only choice in order to do right by the country,” she said.

“We need a fresh start and a new leader who can restore confidence in government, and most importantly provide our country with the leadership it requires.

“From the backbenches I will continue my laser-like focus on the Alex by fighting to return a maternity and children’s service and more investment.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement comes at the end of week dominated by a tsunami of resignations from his Government.

Less than 24 hours after Health Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid sparked a flurry of resignations, Mrs Maclean offered hers ‘with great regret’ and hailed the Prime Minister as an ‘incredible leader of our party’.

However she had ‘regretfully concluded’ she could no longer fulfil her role as Minister for Safeguarding and improve the low rate of prosecutions for sexual offences while Mr Johnson remained in office – an apparent reference to the allegations regarding former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

Former foreign office mandarin Lord McDonald alleged on Tuesday (July 5) Downing Street was ‘still not telling the truth’ about allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Mr Pincher.

The former British diplomat served at the Foreign Office from 2015 to 2020 and claimed the Prime Minister was notified ‘in person’ in 2019 about a formal complaint against Mr Pincher, who was kicked out of the Tory party last week over allegations of groping.

After initially briefing the press the Prime Minister wasn’t aware of ‘specific allegations’, Number 10 then said Mr Johnson was aware but had ‘forgotten’. He appointed Mr Pincher as deputy chief whip in February.

“I have defended you to the hilt to my constituents and to the public.

“You have been an incredible leader of our party through some very difficult times but you must now resign for the good of the country and our party,” Mrs Maclean wrote.

“Values, principles, integrity and decency matter more than anything and I cannot continue to stand by and do nothing.”

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