Tory MPs condemn new education minister Andrea Jenkyns for ‘appalling conduct’ after she was filmed sticking her middle finger up at ‘Bye Boris’ protesters outside Downing Street
- Ms Jenkyns made the sign as she walked through Downing Street gates
- She was later appointed as an education minister by Boris Johnson
- Commons Leader Mark Spencer said Ms Jenkyns has to ‘justify’ her actions
- Former science minister George Freeman said the gesture was ‘appalling’
Tories today hit out at Boris Johnson loyalist Andrea Jenkyns after she was filmed appearing to make a rude gesture while entering Downing Street.
The Tory MP for Morley and Outwood, made the sign with her hand as she walked through the black gates on Thursday afternoon, prior to being named education minister.
Commons Leader Mark Spencer has said it is up to Ms Jenkyns to ‘justify’ her actions, whilst former science minister George Freeman slammed her conduct as ‘appalling’.
Mr Spencer, a former chief whip, added that he does not believe the gesture was ‘the right thing to do at all’.
After leaving Downing Street, Ms Jenkyns again confronted protesters, shouting: ‘He who laughs last, laughs the loudest…wait and see.’
However, her taunt was largely drowned out by a sea of boos and the Benny Hill theme tune, which had been ringing out from the speaker of notorious anti-Brexit protestor Steve Bray, 53, for most of the day.
Mr Bray had earlier interrupted a live TV broadcast with the song, and was once again heard blaring out ‘Bye Bye Boris’, his modified rendition of Bay City Rollers classic, ‘Bye Bye Baby’.
Tories today hit out at Boris Johnson loyalist Andrea Jenkyns after she was filmed appearing to make a rude gesture while entering Downing Street
Asked if Ms Jenkyns’ gesture was acceptable, Mr Spencer told BBC Breakfast: ‘No, I don’t think it is, to be honest. I don’t seek to condone that at all.
‘I mean, Andrea will have to… justify that for herself. But I do understand emotions were running pretty high and they were pretty raw on that day. But I don’t think that was the right thing to do at all.’
Pressed on whether she should retain her ministerial role, he said: ‘That’s not my decision.’
Mr Freeman, who resigned from his role this week, said on Twitter: ‘Ministers should set the highest standards in office. I’m sorry but this is appalling conduct for a Minister of the Crown.
‘This is exactly why we need a new Prime Minister: to restore the Ministerial code & respect for the responsibilities of service in public office.’
Ms Jenkyns was appointed to the role of parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Education on Friday in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The footage, shared on social media on Thursday evening, appears to have been filmed shortly before Mr Johnson announced he was stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party.
The Tory MP for Morley and Outwood, made the sign with her hand as she walked through the black gates yesterday afternoon, prior to being named education minister
Commons Leader Mark Spencer has said it is up to Ms Jenkyns to ‘justify’ her actions
It is unclear who the gesture was aimed at.
In response to the video, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson tweeted: ‘Ministers aren’t expected to be perfect. But is it really too much to ask that they don’t treat the public like this?’
Ms Jenkyns and the Department for Education have been contacted for comment.
The education minister was one of the MPs to show support for Mr Johnson outside No 10 on Thursday as he announced his resignation.
Former science minister George Freeman slammed her conduct as ‘appalling’
A timetable for the Conservative Party leadership contest is expected to be drawn up next week after the election to the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee.
The protesters outside Downing Street appeared to be largely opposed to Mr Johnson.
The gathering the day before had jeered as Mr Johnson announced in a speech outside Number 10 that he was going to resign.
One of the demonstrators waiting outside Downing Street was holding a placard reading: ‘Get your Johnson out of our democracy’.