LONDON — A ministerial aide has quit blaming ‘deep mistrust’ following a damning report of lockdown parties in Downing Street.
Paul Holmes has resigned as assistant to Home Secretary Priti Patel, arguing that his work for constituents in his Eastleigh seat had been “tarnished by the toxic culture which seemed to have permeated No 10”.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report detailed several parties at No 10 with aides drinking and reveling late into the night. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended some of the rallies and gave leaving speeches.
In a statement on his website, Holmes said he was “shocked and angry” by Gray’s findings. “It is clear to me that a deep distrust of the government and the Conservative Party has been created by these events,” he added, noting that he would prefer to continue working as an MP for backbench.
Four other Tory MPs have joined calls for Johnson’s resignation over the scandal since the report was published – but he is not expected to face a confidence vote anytime soon.
But speaking to reporters on Friday, the Prime Minister said he was confident his colleagues would continue to support him.
Meanwhile, Johnson has dashed hopes that he would give his ethics adviser the power to launch inquiries into the prime minister’s conduct. And he amended the ministerial code to note that ministers do not need to resign for minor breaches of the rules.