Andrew Bridgen: Johnson's investigation is a "dark day" for democracy

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Conservative MP has said it is a “very dark day” for UK democracy and free speech over the independent investigation into Boris Johnson’s comments about the burqa.

It was announced on Thursday that an independent investigation will take place into the comments made about the burqa by the former foreign secretary.

Under the Conservative Party’s new code of conduct, when a formal complaint is made, the party have to investigate it.

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, has said he’s “deeply worried” about the state of free speech in the light of the independent inquiry. 

Joining Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO, he said: “I think a lot of your listeners will be deeply worried about the state of our democracy and free speech.

“Unfortunately under the new code of conduct, if a formal complaint is lodged - and I believe that reports say Lord Sheikh, a conservative peer, has lodged a formal complaint - it has to be investigated.

“I hope it’s dismissed immediately as frivolous and vexatious, if it does go to a full disciplinary panel I think there’s a huge questions given that Theresa May, the prime minister, and Brandon Lewis, the party chairman, have basically already said that Boris shouldn’t have said it and should apologise, that they’re already pre-determined.

“I think it’s a very dark day for our democracy and free speech and I’m deeply worried that this policy is being adopted by the Conservative Party, if we’re not the party of free speech, then who is?”

On Thursday, Cressida Dick, the Scotland Yard chief, said that while Boris’s comments were offensive he did not commit a crime.

Bridgen argues that if people found everything that people said “offensive” then there would be investigations every single day.

“Christianity can be the butt of people's jokes, we should live in a free country where people have the right to, within the law, speak their mind.

“If everything that someone finds offensive, the polarisation of politics, I think we’ll be having investigations every single day.”