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Boris Johnson defends not sacking Tory MP who sent ‘unacceptable’ texts

26 Apr 2021 4 minutes Read
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Annika Haas (CC BY 2.0). Rob Roberts. Picture by David Woolfall (CC BY 3.0).

Boris Johnson has defended not sacking a Tory MP who sent “unacceptable” texts to a young intern.

An investigation by the Conservative Party into messages from Rob Roberts, the MP for Delyn, to the 21-year-old intern, inviting her to “fool around”, concluded that they were “unacceptable” but he was not sacked over his behaviour.

During a visit to Wrexham for a Senedd election campaign defended a decision by his party not to take further action against the MP.

Johnson claimed the disciplinary process was “correct” and that Roberts had been “strongly rebuked”.

Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) began an inquiry into Roberts’ behaviour in July 2020 after complaints that he had sexually harassed a young woman working in parliament.

The probe was prompted after the BBC reported he sent WhatsApp messages to an intern asking her to “fool around with no strings” and commenting that she had “lovely legs.”

During a visit to Net World Sports in Wrexham Boris Johnson, told the BBC: “I believe that the disciplinary processes were correct. And we’re a party that believes in cracking down on unacceptable behaviour of all kinds and that’s what we do.”

‘Undermining’ 

Labour has said that Boris Johnson should apologise for “repeatedly” undermining the “collective effort to keep Wales safe”, following the visit.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Boris Johnson has hopefully come to Wales to learn lessons from the fastest vaccine rollout combined with some of the lowest coronavirus rates in the UK, being delivered by the Welsh Labour Government.

“He should’ve taken the opportunity to apologise for his North Wales Tory MPs who have repeatedly undermined the collective effort to keep Wales safe.

“After that, he should’ve explained why the Tories in the Senedd have voted multiple times against measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus.

“People in Wales know the Tories never put the interests of Wales first. They have acted irresponsibly throughout the pandemic and are now consumed by Downing Street leaks and allegations about repugnant comments attributed to Boris Johnson in the media.

“Contrast the vacuum of moral leadership from Boris Johnson and the Tories, with Mark Drakeford’s cautious and compassionate leadership and it’s clear that why people across Wales are saying they will support Welsh Labour on 6th May.”

Boris Johnson said: “Here in Wales, they’re just beginning to unlock the outdoor pubs and that’s great to see. This has been made possible by a great United Kingdom programme.

“Wales has been at the heart of our fightback, our national fightback and it makes me incredibly proud.”

He added: “It hurts for me to say things like Welsh schools could do better or things in the Welsh NHS are not as good as they should be. But that’s because of the failings of Welsh Labour.

“It would be so much better if the Senedd, the Welsh Assembly, was run by Conservatives,” he said, adding: “You would work together better as one country and that’s what I want to see.”

‘Bodies piled’ 

Responding to Boris Johnson’s alleged recent comments saying he would rather bodies piled “high in their thousands” than order a third social and economic lockdown to stem coronavirus infections, Jane Dodds leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “If this quote is correct, it is a truly atrocious comment from an atrocious Prime Minister who should know better. He needs to confirm or deny once and for all whether he made these remarks.

“The NHS and tens of thousands of volunteers are working hard to deliver a successful vaccination programme and millions of people have made personal sacrifices over the last year to fight this virus and all our PM can do is make crass comments which are offensive and upsetting to everyone, especially those who’ve lost loved ones.

“The Prime Minister might now be trying to draw attention to the successful vaccine role out, but he would do well to remember that this has been down to four nations working together rather than just him.

“The lack of action by him and his ministers early last year has undoubtedly cost tens of thousands of lives. While Boris was shaking hands in hospitals and telling us all to sing happy birthday the virus was spreading across our country.

“Not only do his actions and these comments display a callous disregard for the tens of thousands who have lost their lives, but they display a profound misunderstanding of how this pandemic unfolded.

“I hope any public inquiry into this pandemic will be able to take into account his lack of early action as well being able to determine if these new comments are accurate.”

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