A Tory MP today resigned from government with a stinging rebuke over the “toxic culture” in partying Downing Street.
Paul Holmes quit his junior role as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Home Office after being “distressed” by Sue Gray’s revelations that cleaners and security were disrespected.
But the aide to Priti Patel wrote: “Revelations from the Sue Gray report that staff and cleaners were not treated properly is both disappointing and unacceptable.
“It is right that the Prime Minister apologised to staff.
“It clearly showed a culture in Number 10 that was distasteful, and I am glad that there have been several reforms that Sue Gray has welcomed.
“It is clear to me that a deep mistrust in both the Government and the Conservative Party has been created by these events, something that pains me personally as someone who always tries to represent Eastleigh and its people with integrity.
“Whether that is taking up your issues in Parliament or helping people with their problems closer to home, since 2019 we have completed over 12,000 pieces of constituency casework.
“It is distressing to me that this work on your behalf has been tarnished by the toxic culture that seemed to have permeated Number 10.
“Over the last few weeks this distress has led me to conclude that I want to continue to focus solely on my efforts in being your Member of Parliament and the campaigns that are important to you.
“That is why I have now resigned from my governmental responsibilities as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office.”
PPSs are the most junior rung on the ladder to becoming a minister. They are part of government but not ministers themselves.
Mr Holmes’ Eastleigh seat was previously held by the Lib Dems, although he won a 15,607 majority over the party in 2019. The party intends to highlight sleaze in its campaigning at elections.
Mr Holmes announced his resignation moments after Boris Johnson told reporters he was confident he had enough backing in his party to survive.
It would take 54 letters of no confidence from Conservative leaders to trigger a no-confidence vote in the Tory leader. But supporters claimed no one broke ranks to attack him publicly during a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee on Wednesday.
Four Tory MPs have added their voices to demands for Mr Johnson’s resignation after the publication of the damning Sue Gray inquiry report this week.
Former minister Stephen Hammond said he “cannot and will not defend the indefensible” as he suggested he had submitted a letter formally calling for a no confidence vote.
But Mr Johnson told reporters during a visit to Stockton-on-Tees, where he met fibre cable laying trainees, that he is confident he has enough support within his party.
“Yes, but I think I gave some pretty vintage and exhaustive answers on all that subject the other day in the House of Commons and then in a subsequent press conference,” he said when asked by broadcasters.
He sought to further deflect questions when pressed on why he tolerated the culture that saw staff drink so much they were sick, became involved in altercations and abused security and cleaning staff.
“If you look at the answers in the House of Commons over more than two hours, I think you’ll be able to see I answered that very, very extensively,” Mr Johnson said.
It comes after reports that Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and five special advisors were all issued with police questionnaires over an alleged ‘Abba party’ in the Downing Street flat on 13 November 2020.
None of them were fined and the PM has since claimed it was a work meeting.
Two insiders told the Mirror that the document was looked at before publication by the PM’s Chief of Staff Steve Barclay, who allegedly requested changes.
They said the section covering a gathering in the Downing Street flat was “edited” on Tuesday night.
The Government has denied the claims, which were also raised in the Commons.