Alastair Campbell, a self-proclaimed “lifelong anti-Conservative” said: “Corruption comes in many forms.”
He continued: “I would argue that it’s corrupt for serving newspaper editors to head off to get their peerages and we know for example the Daily Telegraph’s relationship with Boris Johnson such that he can lecture the world about changing our habits then getting on his private jet and fly down because Charles Moore [former Telegraph editor] summons him for a dinner at The Garrick Club to tell him what he wants to do in relation to Owen Paterson.”
"More Tory MPs need to stand up to this prime minister," says Alastair Campbell
"The idea that Alastair Campbell… https://t.co/XARb0vTyQa
Campbell said her retort was “whataboutery” and he pulled her up on her use of the word “dodgy”.
The term “dodgy” conjures memories of the “dodgy dossier” on Iraq’s weapons programme in the early 2000s. Campbell was previously accused of “sexing up” the intelligence dossier ahead of the Iraq war while he was Tony Blair’s director of communications, but he was cleared.
Bringing his attention back to the current scandal, Campbell continued: “Whether I’m talking about Theresa May, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, when we talk about the seven principles of public life that John Major’s Nolan committee brought in - honesty, openness, objectivity, selflessness, integrity, accountability, leadership - I would argue that they, most of the time, obey those principles.
“I would even argue that Boris Johnson, the prime minister your paper [The Telegraph] supports so flagrantly, he breaks them every single day,” he added.
He continued: “More Tory MPs need to stand up to this prime minister who is doing fundamental damage to our democracy.”
Labour’s leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith said the prime minister and those who voted with him exercised “poor judgement”.
"There are people out there listening who have no experience of Parliament and who knew absolutely that this was wr… https://t.co/81V60Bven2
Conservative MP Tim Loughton said: “The government got it wrong last week, last week frankly was a car crash and nobody comes out of it well, so I think the government very quickly needs to explain what it’s going to do going forward and start trying to regain some of the trust that has been lost in politicians generally.”
Conservative MP Tim Loughton - who voted for last week's amendment on Parliament standards - says he wants "an expl… https://t.co/YMM56TsBaN
Former prime minister John Major has also spoken out in recent days, blasting the government’s handling of the paid lobbying scandal as “shameful”, “wrong” and said it “[trashed] the reputation of parliament” in a BBC interview.
Major, whose own government was embroiled in sleaze rows, said: “The striking difference is this: in the 1990s I set up a committee to tackle this sort of behaviour. Over the last few days we have seen today’s government trying to defend this sort of behaviour.”
When the prime minister was asked today - three times - if he would apologise for his handling of the Paterson scandal last week, he refused.
Johnson also said he would not be able to attend the debate on standards and sleaze in the Commons this afternoon.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused the prime minister of “running scared”, adding: “[Johnson’s] concern, as always, is self-preservation, not the national interest.”