The West Country Debate April: Partygate, local elections and online safety

  • Watch April's edition of the West Country Debate

The legacy of Covid continues to dominate the news agenda as the Prime Minister was forced to explain his fine for a lockdown party in Downing Street to MPs.

The fine has lead to the Forest of Dean MP and former cabinet minister calling on the PM to quit - Mark Harper told Boris Johnson that he "is no longer worthy of the great office he holds".

Elsewhere this week MPs debated new laws designed to make the internet safer. 

On the West Country Debate panel this month:

  • Labour MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw

  • Stroud's Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie

  • Former Bristol West MP and twice West of England Metro Mayor candidate Stephen Williams


Last week Boris Johnson was fined for attending a gathering on his birthday in June 2020. It is possible that more fines could come as investigations continue. 

Our panelists were split between condemning Boris Johnson's actions and waiting to make a more informed decision.

Local eections

On May 5 there are five council elections taking place in the West Country - Cheltenham, Swindon, Exeter and Plymouth, plus the new Somerset unitary authority.

Unsurprisingly, all of the guests were confident their party will do well in the elections.

Online Safety

Earlier this week MPs debated new laws designed to make the internet safer. The online harms bill aims to regulate certain sites like search engines and social media platforms and force them to deal with illegal or harmful content.

Panelists agreed more needs to be done to tackle online abuse.

  • Watch The West Country Debate on ITV at 10.45pm on Thursday 21 April