Rishi Sunak accused of having 'no backbone' and showing 'cowardice' for abstaining from Partygate vote

20 June 2023, 07:17 | Updated: 20 June 2023, 07:25

Former Labour Cllr accuses Sunak of being 'held hostage' by the right

By Abbie Reynolds

Rishi Sunak "had an opportunity and he has let the country down", ex-Labour Councillor Ali Milani says.

Speaking on Ali Miraj's Cross Question panel on Monday, former Labour Councillor Ali Milani blasted the Prime Minister for his absence in the House of Commons.

"I think this is actually cowardice on part of the Prime Minister. He's nowhere to be seen today, I think he is up north somewhere. Someone's got to check all the fridges just to make sure he's not hiding in one," Mr Milani began.

In a vote held in the House of Commons, MPs were invited to vote for or against the Privileges Committee's finding that Boris Johnson knowingly and repeatedly lied in Parliament.

The vote concluded with an overwhelming majority in favour of the report. However, as this was a "free vote" some MPs were absent and most notably absent was the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

He continued: "The reality is you can't fix a problem until you acknowledge it. And I think if Rishi Sunak wanted to acknowledge the problem of trust and integrity in our politics he would be leading today.

"That's what a leader does, he stands up in the House of Commons and says 'Everything that comes before me is going to change now'."

READ MORE: Boris Johnson denied special access to Parliament as MPs back report which found he deliberately misled Commons

The ex-Labour councillor, who ran against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2019 General Election, went on to explain what he knew of the ex-Prime Minister's personality: "The reality is, I do know Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson is who he has always been, he has left office as he came in."

Boris Johnson "has always lied" and "allegations of impropriety" have followed him where ever he has gone, Ali Milani declared.

"And he has lowered the standard of public office in this country."

READ MORE: 'He is a disgusting, despicable liar': James O'Brien's damning commentary on the results of the Partygate report

Tom Swarbrick brands those who abstained from today's vote 'cowards'

"The real shame is Rishi Sunak had a real opportunity today to show some leadership. To stand in the House of Commons and say 'We are done with the kind of politics, we are going to move on'."

"But he is being held hostage by the right of his party," he claimed, "he hasn't got a backbone, it's complete cowardice and now he is hiding somewhere up north.

"He had an opportunity and he has let the country down."

Mr Milani argued that the Prime Minister is "terrified" of this generation of Conservatives, listing Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries as examples of a "change" within the party.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

The Labour Councillor wasn't the only critique of the Prime Minister's actions. Tom Swarbrick dubbed his move "the cowards way out" and James O'Brien asked why Mr Sunak "won't grow some and do the decent thing for once".

Fellow panel member and political commentator, Jonathan Lis, agreed with Mr Milani's damning verdict and added his own dig saying: "The only impressive thing about Rishi Sunak is that someone with so little backbone can stand up."

Rishi Sunak said the decision was up to the "house and not the government" when pressed on whether he was to be in attendance.

READ MORE: 'It's pathetic!': James O’Brien is staggered by Rishi Sunak's refusal to say if he will approve Partygate report