Councillor Wilson proposed the following motion on notice:
Council notes its severe disappointment in the Prime Minister
Council further notes that the Prime Minister acted unlawfully, misled Parliament and lied to the residents of our country.
Council adds that while the Prime Minister attended Downing Street parties, millions of people, including countless East Herts residents, obeyed the lockdown rules, often at huge personal cost. They missed funerals, cancelled weddings and said goodbye to loved ones on video calls – some on the very day that Number Ten illegally hosted a garden party.
Council condemns the Prime Minister whose disregard for his own rules itself represents a threat to the health of our nation, including residents of East Herts as he failed to set an example for the country to follow. This is also a threat to the rule of law and the standing of democracies at all levels. For these reasons he must resign.
Council calls upon the Leader of the Council to write to Boris Johnson stating that the Council has no confidence in his leadership and calls for him to resign.
Council resolves that we no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister.
Councillor Dumont seconded the motion.
Councillor Wilson spoke to his motion. He said that this motion was about standards in public life and the ideals of democracy. The current Prime Minister had breached these ideals and reports had emerged of him attending parties during lockdown resulting in a fine from the police. Councillor Wilson said that his actions had implications and others might start to think why they should follow the rules if the Prime Minister himself did not. Residents of East Herts will assume that all politicians are the same which he said was not the case and the Councillors at East Herts have done great things, they don’t see that Councillor Jones has been to the Ukraine, the role that Councillor Haysey has played in the rebuilding of the District after Covid-19 or the work of Councillor Symonds with the homeless. Councillor Wilson said that Councillors do represent residents in an honourable way and asked the Council to condemn the Prime Minister.
Councillor Curtis said that the Council were being asked to have no confidence in the Prime Minister but said that to do that, there needed to be confidence in an alternative. He said that this was a point scoring motion and he said he would be voting against it as the government had lots of good policies.
Councillor Redfern said that she fully supported Councillor Wilson’s motion. She said it had a bearing on all elected officials when the public believed that all politicians were the same. She said that the Prime Minister had brought the country into disrepute. She believed the Prime Minister should be someone the country could trust, had integrity and was competent.
Councillor Goldspink said she supported the motion. She said that the residents of East Herts deserved to know what standards their Councillors find acceptable and that they should expect elected representatives to be people of honesty, integrity and to keep to the rules. She said that the Prime Minister’s behaviour had made her ashamed to be British.
Councillor Bell said the actions of the Prime Minister set a dangerous precedent. She said that if Covid-19 remerged or there was another pandemic, there was a risk that the public would not follow any restrictions. She said that if Councillors do not pay their council tax, they were unable to vote on decisions and the Prime Minister should not be above the law.
Councillor Dumont said when he joined the Council he was pleasantly surprised at how hard working all the Councillors were from all parties. He said he employed carers that delivered services to residents in East Herts and they put their lives on the line and they did not go for a curry or beer after work. He said his father in law came to visit his house on Christmas Day and wanted to come in to give his children presents but said no as he could not be seen to be breaking the rules. He sadly died a week later.
The Chairman said that every Councillor in the Chamber worked hard and with integrity.
Councillor Wilson said that it was clear that anyone who broke the rules, from any party, should resign. The Office of the Prime Minister was one that should be respected, regardless of party.
The motion having been proposed by Councillor Wilson and seconded by Councillor Dumont was put to the meeting and was declared LOST.