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Opinion: Time for our MPs to have the courage to speak out amid Downing Street Christmas party row

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If ever there was a time for Kent MPs to raise their heads above the parapet, today is the day.

When the Downing Street Christmas party scandal is being openly discussed by Ant and Dec on prime time television, you know it has cut through and resonated with people far beyond the Westminster bubble.

But where Ant and Dec boldly go, our elected representatives fear to tread.

At the time of writing, and hours after being contacted by KentOnline, only two of Kent’s 16 Conservative MPs have addressed an issue that has caused anger and hurt across their constituencies.

The sole dissenting voices are those of Thanet North’s Sir Roger Gale, a veteran MP who has been in the game so long that he no doubt feels free to speak without fear of the repercussions, and Chatham and Aylesford’s Tracey Crouch.

We can understand the reluctance to speak out - indeed, it’s a reticence shared by Cabinet ministers who cancelled numerous media appearances this morning.

It’s not a mess of their making so why should they get involved? But we passionately believe this is an issue that transcends politics - it's a matter of honesty, integrity and decency.

Sir Roger Gale was the first Kent MP to speak out
Sir Roger Gale was the first Kent MP to speak out

Trust is important, trust is everything.

If you can't trust the people at the top to tell the truth about even the most basic things, you're in trouble.

If you can't trust your locally-elected MPs to stand up and speak out against obvious wrongdoing, you're in trouble.

Millions of us followed the rules - some paying a heartbreaking price in the process - but what do we get in return? People at the top laughing at us.

As for the PM, how much longer can he continue to act like the rules don't apply to him and his?

We appeal today to our representatives to speak up. Our readers are listening.

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