Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading and collating the growing daily, numerous views and insights from constituents and I do sincerely appreciate everyone who has been getting in touch to share your concerns, anger and disappointment. I have been doing my utmost to get back to constituents as quickly as possible and I want to thank you all for your patience and understanding.
I’ve been sharing constituents’ anger and upset with my Whip over the past couple of weeks, including yesterday, who reports back directly to No.10. We have all been angered and deeply hurt by the reported ‘parties, leaving dos and staff get-togethers’ in Downing Street and across Whitehall.
MPs heard the Prime Minister rightly and sincerely offer a heartfelt apologises to the House of Commons Chamber and the nation at PMQs over the last two weeks. He personally took responsibility, as he has for all matters at this time of dealing with this devastating pandemic and unprecedented economic challenge.
I do greatly understand many people will not have been satisfied by these apologies, which is why I am pleased there is a vital and wide ranging inquiry underway and there will be one into the handling of the pandemic as a whole. We must be unafraid of scrutiny and able to act when we have got matters wrong.
This inquiry is looking at all areas of this deeply damaging situation, where those working for the Government and others should have known, done better and acted better in their workplace. We must establish the full facts of what happened, why it happened and how it was at all deemed acceptable. We all feel very disappointed and let down as it looks like those making the rules did not act by them. We need to understand why.
I am also very sorry for the significant, emotional impact these misjudgements and entire situation have had on many constituents, and the extreme upset it has caused. It is very hard to see how this has brought back painful memories from the last couple of years for so many, and of the sacrifices we’ve all made.
I am determined to continue to help us recover from this pandemic positively through my roles as Mid Sussex’s MP and Employment Minister, both of which I take incredibly seriously and know are a great privilege and honour. This is what I have done through this pandemic and alongside my hardworking constituency team.
I will continue to follow developments on these reports and this inquiry closely in the days ahead. The MET have also said it will consider any evidence of potential criminal offences from the ongoing inquiry.