'Integrity in public life is crucial to tackling the issues we face'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Credit: PA/Gareth Fuller

I asked on social media what I would write about in this column. With so much going on locally, nationally and indeed internationally, it is hard to choose.

Responses ranged from the building safety scandal, the climate crisis, an interesting idea of buddying Camden with Barnet as Camden are miles ahead on taking action on climate, the need for more active transport across both boroughs, and integrity in public life. The final topic felt like the crucial one because to tackle any of the issues that people raised, we need the right people in post to represent those they are elected to serve.

The Nolan principles of public life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership) must guide all elected representatives. It is shameful that we have seen the highest elected office in the country break every single one of these principles. When so many of us were sacrificing and doing the right thing to keep each other safe from Covid, our government was time and time again breaking the rules that they themselves made.

Anne Clarke, Labour Party London Assembly candidate for Barnet and Camden

Anne Clarke says that government broke the rules they made themselves - Credit: Anne Clarke/Labour

A failure to step up, shape up and clean up in Downing Street is holding the country back.

Door after door, Conservative voters in Barnet and Camden are telling me one thing; they don’t have confidence in the prime minister and increasingly, that they don’t have confidence in the Conservative Party itself. In all my years of being a Labour activist, I’ve never seen this many previously Tory voters say they will vote Labour. Why? Because integrity and accountability matter. And Labour with Keir Starmer at the helm embodies decency, hard work and a real desire to lead and deliver for everyone.

At the time of writing this, none of the Conservative councillors in Barnet or Camden, nor any of the three Barnet Conservative MPs, have called for him to go. Indeed, the Conservative Leader of Barnet Council still has his public Facebook page set to a photo of himself and Boris Johnson. Matthew Offord MP has the same and a senior Barnet Tory councillor has shared a petition online asking for people to sign to show support for the PM.

If Boris Johnson cared about this country, he would go; if the Conservatives cared about this country, they would make him go.

Most Read

While Johnson remains in place, the government will continue to be embroiled in scandal and will never be able to focus on what really matters – job creation, the energy crisis, the cost of living, eradicating childhood poverty, our NHS, tackling crime and caring for the planet.

Anne Clarke (Lab) is the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, and councillor for Childs Hill.