A letter of warning to Boris Johnson in the wake of Neil Parish’s resignation

File:Official portrait of Neil Parish MP crop 2.jpg” by Richard Townshend is marked with CC BY 3.0.

Leaving aside Mr Parish’s voting record and ideologicial stance which very probably sit ill with many of our readers, this letter focuses on the issue of admission of guilt and the act of contrition. There are men and women in parliament right now who should have resigned some time ago, following appalling breaches of the law or of the ministerial code that have been perpetrated without consequence to the extent that many of us have given up any hope of guilty MPs doing the right thing and resigning. The arrogant, unethical attitude of many who have carried on regardless is, of course, ‘exemplified’ by Boris Johnson himself. Ed

Take note, Mr. Johnson!

This man is/was my MP!

In all the dealings I have had with him, he has been helpful and considerate, especially at the end of 2014, when I spent a week as his guest in Parliament and was able to observe him and his team at work first hand.

He came across as a decent, hard-working model MP, who really cared about his constituents and the issues that were important to him and to them and that is an impression that has been echoed by many other people who have had dealings with him, even if they completely disagreed with him politically.

Thus, the last 24 hours or so have naturally been extremely painful for everybody who really knows him and must have been utterly excruciating for him and his family!

However, he has told far fewer lies than you have, Mr Johnson,and his misdemeanours are tiny in comparison to yours, but his career and reputation has been completely destroyed overnight as a consequence of one stupid mistake – albeit a serious one – that instantly made his position untenable.

He could have ducked and dived, called in favours from friends, pointed the finger of blame at everybody except himself and tried to hang on for as long as possible. However, because, despite this one stupid career-destroying mistake, he is still ultimately a decent man, it didn’t take him long to realise that the only honourable option was to be truthful and honest about what he had done, set the record straight to all his disappointed friends, family, colleagues, constituents and indeed the whole country, apologise sincerely and profusely, and resign.

And that was a real apology that fully admits and takes responsibility for his actions and followed by an appropriate gesture to mitigate them.

One day, sooner or later, however long you try and put it off, Mr. Johnson, you will inevitably end up having to make a similar statement and will have to explain much wider and further-reaching actions and consequences than Mr. Parish.

Will you show the same dignity and contrition?

The longer you put it off, the harder it will be, but the day will come eventually.

Maybe you have your eye on Mr. Parish’s seat now it is vacant and he has conveniently gone while you precariously remain?

It is, after all, a seat that is a lot safer than yours and you have a family connection with the constituency!

But, if you do decide to take advantage of his opportunity, maybe you should take a long hard think and ask yourself: are you really fit to fill Neil’s shoes?

Philip Fairweather

Tiverton and Honiton constituent