A Tory Brexiteer MP has turned on the advisers surrounding his party’s leader over their handling of the easing of lockdown.
Peter Bone accused Johnson’s advisers of thinking ‘they are running a presidential government’ after the prime minister made a televised address to the public on Sunday evening about easing measures in England.
The Brexiteer said that aides – like senior aide Dominic Cummings – had ‘clearly been watching too many episodes of The West Wing’.
While he praised the prime minister for his handling of the crisis so far, he suggested that Johnson ‘may have broken the ministerial code’ by failing to make a statement in the House of Commons first.
He told MPs: ‘The television presentation by the prime minister was plain wrong.
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‘Too many of the prime minister’s special advisers and aides think they are running a presidential government that the prime minister goes on television and announces all sorts of executive orders without any reference to parliament.
‘Many of them have clearly been watching too many episodes of The West Wing.
‘And they just do not understand how the government works in the country.’
He continued: ‘On page 23 under the section ‘Ministers And Parliament’, it says in bold type: ‘When parliament is in session, the most important announcements of government policy should be made in the first instance, in parliament’.
‘Clearly the prime minister’s television address breached the ministerial code.’
Explaining how the prime minister should have made the announcement, he said: ‘What should have happened was a statement should have been made in the Commons first, the prime minister should have been questioned by MPs.
‘The command paper with the details published at the same time.
‘Absolutely no media briefing in advance.
‘This would have given the best launch to the changes to government policy.’
Last week the House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle expressed ‘regret’ that Johnson chose to make his address through the media rather than the House of Commons.