Rossendale Free Press

MP under fire after support for embattled premier

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A FORMER MP and Rossendale councillor has slammed Jake Berry’s backing of Boris Johnson over the Downing Street parties.

Liz McInnes, of Rawtenstal­l, was the MP for Heywood and Middleton from 2014 to 2019 and has criticised the Rossendale MP’s support for the Prime Minister over the allegation­s that numerous parties and gatherings were held throughout lockdown.

In a letter to the Free Press, Ms McInnes, who prior to becoming an MP represente­d Longholme ward on Rossendale council, questioned why Mr Berry had called Boris Johnson ‘the right man for the job’ despite the allegation­s of breaching lockdown rules.

Speaking to ITV News Mr Berry said: “People are really angry about that party.

“It was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

“What we saw was a fulsome and contrite apology form the Prime Minister and I think in the long term what that demonstrat­es is that he still has both the ability to lead our country and our party.”

When asked for his message to his constituen­ts he said: “My message is I know they’re angry.

“I am angry about this as well; this is not a free pass.

“On the big issues the PM made the right call and that’s why I think he’s the right person to lead our country.”

Ms McInnes said that reports of the parties were ‘shocking’ and an ‘insult’ to the British people.

“It would appear that Boris Johnson and his staff, friends and family felt that the rules didn’t apply to them,” Ms McInnes said.

“We all remember the pain of lockdown, being unable to visit friends and family, contact with the sick and dying reduced to phone and video calls, being unable to attend funerals and mourn properly.

“We can no longer tolerate the ‘one rule for us, another one for everyone else’ culture led by Prime Minister Johnson.

“He has even had to apologise to the Queen for

Downing Street parties held, unbelievab­ly, on the evening before the funeral of Prince Philip.”

In response Mr Berry told the Free Press: “I completely understand the public outrage on this issue, especially amongst those of us who lost loved ones.

“Throughout the pandemic we have all made sacrifices; unable to grieve together, celebrate together, or even see each other. Nobody was exempt.

“But whilst it was hard, we all understood why it was necessary. My mum died during the pandemic. Because of the restrictio­ns we were unable to say goodbye and hold the funeral that she deserved.

“That’s why I share the anger, frustratio­n and disappoint­ment of residents at what has come to light about events in Downing Street in May 2020.

“I sat in PMQs last Wednesday, and listened to the Prime Minister’s apology which I felt was heartfelt and contrite.

“Whilst I will wait for the report from Sue Gray, I

am very clear that there must be consequenc­es if laws were broken.”

 ?? ?? ●●Ex-MP Liz McInnes
●●Ex-MP Liz McInnes

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