Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, was accused of being involved in a ‘dodgy’ deal this week after he issued a press release about his support for besieged Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in the vote of confidence that took place on Monday.
Mr Seely was in the minority of around 25 per cent of backbenchers who supported the Prime Minister, who has already been fined for law-breaking and faces further investigations into parties in Downing Street during lockdown.
Mr Seely linked his vote for the Prime Minister to getting a commitment from ‘ministers’ that they would ‘look again’ at a special Island deal for the Island’s council.
Labour’s shadow secretary of state for levelling up, Lisa Nandy, questioning the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, on Wednesday, said the deal sounded ‘awfully like corruption’ – but withdrew her original words when asked to do so by the deputy speaker, Eleanor Laing. Parliament’s rules say that no MP may accuse another of being dishonourable, dishonest or lying when speaking in the House of Commons.
Ms Nandy quoted directly from Mr Seely’s website pointing out that he said he had supported Boris Johnson in the confidence vote, ‘only after discussion with senior ministers’. Earlier in the day Mr Seely had told LBC Radio that he had not made up his mind how he was going to vote.
The IW Observer asked Mr Seely, on Tuesday, whether he believed supporting the Prime Minister would make any difference to decisions about ‘fair funding’ for the Isle of Wight. He would not give an unequivocal answer, but admitted there were ‘no guarantees’ about an Island deal being delivered, despite the Prime Minister giving him ‘a commitment’ about it in 2019. He said he would continue to raise it at every opportunity.
Yesterday (Thursday), Mr Seely sent out another press release of more than 1,500 words claiming to explain ‘the background and process for securing additional funding for public services.’
Labour’s Richard Quigley said: “It’s been quite the week for Bob Seely. It started with his very painful to watch video on LBC, where he effectively said it was ok for the PM to lie and we should just get over it. He followed it up by voting in favour of Johnson to stay on as PM in exchange for ministers taking another “look” at the Island deal. Something Bob assured me was a done deal in the 2019 general election hustings.
“The Island deal hasn’t happened as promised, but by saying he was persuaded to vote in favour of Johnson in exchange for “another look” at it, means we will never get the extra money we badly need whilst Bob is our MP. If the government agrees to the extra cash, every MP in the Tory party will engage in transactional politics, making the government look wholly corrupt. If they don’t give us the cash, they can claim no such deal was ever done and Bob voted for Boris on merit.
“I have come to realise that Bob is a bit naïve on these sort of things, but I’m not sure he realised what position he has now placed the Island in.
“We deserve better than playground tactics, we need a deal that improves the lives of all Islanders, not just Bob”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that money for local areas is decided in a process run by civil servants.