“Quite rightly, hundreds of residents in Brecon and Radnorshire have written to me regarding the parties that took place in Downing Street during the lockdowns. Their anger and fury is entirely justified and I welcome their honesty. It should go without saying that I did not set foot in Downing Street under lockdown.
My reaction is the same as a great many in the constituency – one of shock, disappointment and frustration. However, I am deeply angry on behalf of all those who made severe sacrifices during the pandemic. Many of us missed significant life events and were prevented from saying farewell to loved ones, myself included. Everyone did this in good faith that we were all in it together. To undermine that – just as we are making great progress against the Omicron variant – is abysmal. There is an added sting that lockdown rules were flouted in Downing Street the night before HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was laid to rest.
I listened intently to the Prime Minister’s statement to the House last week and I welcome his apology. It was the least the country deserved. A senior civil servant will now produce a detailed report into the allegations but, irrespective of the outcome of Ms Gray’s report, it is clear that change is needed in Downing Street. Without delay, the Prime Minister needs to reimpose a much stricter standard of professionalism amongst his staff and focus his energy on tackling growing challenges like the rising cost of living.
Over the coming months and years, I will do my level best to try to win back the trust that has been lost in Brecon and Radnorshire. I will do whatever it takes for the Government to be fully focused on the issues that matter the most to the country and my constituents. Moving on from COVID, securing our economic position, dealing with the NHS backlog, tackling the cost of living and dealing with the appalling numbers of migrants crossing the channel. The Government has let itself down in recent weeks and it is more than time we put things right.”