Evidence shows there WAS a #DowningStreetparty – after all #BorisJohnson’s lying denials

It’s been said before: it isn’t the wrongdoing that brings down governments – it’s the cover-up.

Yesterday (December 7, 2021), ITV News screened video of Boris Johnson’s then-press secretary, Allegra Stratton, laughing and joking about a Christmas party that government representatives, MPs and ministers have sworn blind did not take place on December 18, 2020, in a press conference rehearsal that happened four days later:

So there it is. Four days after the party – and we know now that it definitely took place – Downing Street staff were rehearsing how to lie about it. Remember, nobody would even claim publicly that it had happened for almost an entire year after the time this was recorded.

After the allegations were finally made, the lies started flying thick and fast. For brevity, here’s Peter Stefanovic’s video that captures all the televised falsehoods, including Boris Johnson’s own lie:

Do you still have doubts?

If so, just run your eyes over the following, which appears to be video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, taken at the Downing Street party on December 18, 2020:

The Metropolitan Police, having refused to investigate allegations of a party earlier this week – on the basis that they don’t investigate crimes that have already happened – are apparently looking at the Stratton video and considering whether to investigate.

(It probably means they are trying to find a good reason not to. Hopefully the Rees-Mogg video will tip the balance and they’ll have to do something. Interviewing Stratton and Rees-Mogg might be a start.)

This Writer had thought no new evidence was likely to be seen yesterday beyond the revelation that a ‘secret Santa’ present-giving had taken place – meaning the party had been planned well in advance (otherwise the secret present-givers would not have had time to arrange their gifts), and had not been cancelled after London went into Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions and all social gatherings were banned. How much more wrong could I have been?

Downing Street itself has doubled-down, continuing to insist that all relevant rules had been followed and adding that Johnson himself certainly did not attend a party.

But that doesn’t matter, because he lied about it.

And he lied while Conservative Party vice-chair Nickie Aiken was on television (BBC Politics Live) telling us all how accusations of lying were bad because they encourage people to think they can’t trust politicians. She even mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic and said she didn’t believe any member of the government would bring Parliament into disrepute:

I would like to see her on tomorrow’s Politics Live, commenting on the Stratton and Rees-Mogg clips. What does she have to say now?

Because it’s the lying that is hurtful.

Yesterday evening I watched the ITV News report on this. Anchorman Tom Bradby seemed to be so angry he couldn’t get his words out properly, and a pre-recorded insert was shown featuring members of the public, including one of the many who lost loved ones on the day of the party, reacting to it. The rage was palpable.

It should never be forgotten that 489 people died with Covid-19 on the day these Sloane Rangers and Hooray Henrys were raving it up in Downing Street – and more than 600 on the day Allegra Stratton was laughing about it in her mock press conference.

The reason people are angry is because they were laughing at us – the people who had to obey the rules while they flouted them.

Allow me to show you just a taste of that anger, from Twitter:

“Dear Allegra Stratton

“On the day you partied, my mother called me, breathless and feverish. I didn’t visit. On the day you joked, she was admitted to hospital. I didn’t visit. As you celebrated Christmas, she died without family by her side. I promise you, it wasn’t funny.”

Let’s not forget that the Metropolitan Police – the same force that initially refused to investigate allegations that people in Downing Street broke the rules – are this very week prosecuting members of the public over a house party in Ilford.

How much evidence does Cressida Dick need? She has video evidence that the party took place – including a clip from inside the event itself, and because Downing Street is guarded by police at all times she has the names of everybody who was signed into and out of the premises at the time the party happened. That should be enough to build what should be a watertight case – and now there really is no excuse not to.

So we come back to Boris Johnson – who is also in trouble now because he lied that he did not interfere in the evacuation from Afghanistan to allow a dog rescue charity to remove its animals to the UK.

There was a party. It took place at 10 Downing Street – where he lives. It was illegal. It happened when all social gatherings were banned. It involved a large amount of people who weren’t even attempting social distancing. Johnson’s then-press secretary joked about it being a “cheese and wine” event or “fictional”. And Johnson lied about it.

All of the above suggests that TV funsters Ant and Dec were right on the button when they said these words on yesterday’s edition of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!:

He is still prime minister… for now.

But for how much longer?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Did Tory distraction tactics make you lose track of the DWP’s strange plans for sick and disabled people?

Distractions, distractions: the Tories love them and try to cause as many as possible.

Even while the fuss over the Downing Street Christmas party last year is embarrassing for them, it means you may not have noticed other harms they are inflicting on sections of the population.

For example: the Department for Work and Pensions.

1. It seems the government is quietly pushing through proposals to change the assessment of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – the main benefit for people with disabilities – even though it only put them out for consultation a short while ago.

The plans to expand the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and to remove the proposed 18-month minimum award period for people receiving PIP were part of a Health and Disability Green Paper and the government ran a consultation on them that ended on October 11, just two weeks before they appeared in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget statement as schemes that will definitely go ahead.

The Tory government expects to save £70 million over three years by doing this.

Labour has demanded clarification, smelling another Tory stealth cut. And it is true that the plans will have an impact on people with protected characteristics, so Sunak needs to explain why they are not mentioned in the ‘Impacts on Equalities’ section of the Budget.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the impact in this instance will be a good one.

The proposal is to replace the systems that are being cut with “better triaging of cases and testing a new Severe Disability Group”.

While the DWP has a poor history of doing anything “better”, the plan for a “Severe Disability Group” is now quite well-known and would put people with progressive, lifelong conditions into a group where they would never have to face reassessment for the benefit.

It is entirely possible that the whole of the £70 million projected saving would come from this change. This Site – and others – has spent years pointing out that the DWP spends more on constant reassessments that try to find ways to exclude people with disabilities from the payments that make their life worthwhile than it would if it left them alone.

It may be that the government has actually listened for a change and is doing the right thing for once.

I know – it’s a slim chance. But watch this space.

2. Sadly the reliability of any evidence provided by the DWP on proposed savings comes into serious doubt when one learns that the department withheld evidence that the work capability assessment, used to determine whether people are eligible for sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), was linked to 590 suicides:

Dr Paul Litchfield said: “If I had had that evidence available to me, or indeed been told that it was there – you can only ask for stuff if you know that it exists… I would certainly have looked at it and taken it into consideration.”

The information includes secret DWP reviews into benefit-linked deaths and two reports sent to the DWP by coroners aimed at preventing future deaths of claimants.

The revelation suggests that the DWP deliberately tried to prevent its reviewer from suggesting changes that would have saved lives.

3. Dr Litchfield also criticised the DWP as “odd” because, while it accepted his recommendations on policy, the operation side of the department continually and consistently dragged its feet when he proposed changes:

He said he believed the government department was stalling – waiting for the next review, with a different set of proposals, to come along so it wouldn’t have to change anything.

But how far can we trust him on this?

He said the government should develop a new assessment, based on the discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability. It already is.

This is the idea that the illnesses that prevent people from being able to work are all in the sufferers’ minds, and that they were perfectly capable of having jobs. This in turn led to the “scrounger” and “skiver” lies put about by the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition government of 2010-2015.

It is important to remember that these beliefs informed New Labour policy on benefits when that party was in charge of the DWP. Current shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, as Work and Pensions Secretary under Gordon Brown, enforced rules that docked assessment points from amputees if they could lift objects with their stumps, while she said claimants with speech problems who could write a sign would receive no points and deaf claimants who could read such signs would have no points for hearing loss. Anybody with mobility issues would be assessed using “imaginary wheelchairs”. She also removed half the mental health descriptors from the assessment, hugely increasing the possibility of suicides if the benefit was withheld.

Dr Litchfield said a new, independent reassessment of the benefit was long overdue. This Writer agrees – but this gentleman and his ideas should be kept very far away from it.

4. Underlying all of this is the question of whether the DWP has a duty of care to benefit claimants.

The department has denied this for many years, so it was welcome to learn that PIP review Paul Gray believes this duty is implicit in all of its work:

But This Writer strongly disagrees that it is a “learning process”. The UK government has been providing benefits to people for many decades now and should be entirely capable of showing proper care for their well-being.

The fact that thousands – possible tens of thousands or indeed hundreds of thousands – of people have died after being denied DWP benefits suggests that there was a failure of care, and that this was a political decision.

5. What are we to conclude from all of the above?

It can only be that the Department for Work and Pensions is a chaotic dis-organisation that fails to uphold its duties properly, with the result that many thousands of people have died who should have been receiving the benefits, and the respect, that is due to them.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The #UK’s going to Hell but at least we can #laugh about it

He’s a clown: but many people fear clowns…

I don’t know about you, but This Writer is seeing a noticeable increase in humorous posts about current political affairs.

I guess people have realised that they can’t do anything about all the horrible things the Tories are doing that they might as well try to have a few kicks while they can.

So, after Dominic Raab demonstrated his stupidity on live TV by telling us the police don’t investigate crimes retrospectively, and then admitted that a party had taken place at Downing Street during lockdown, in breach of all the rules…

…a sub-editor at the Star came up with this:

Nice one!

On another tack, a Twitter user pointed out a curious correspondence between the Tory attitude to the Downing Street party and Labour’s attitude to putting its own house in order:

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson joined a police drugs raid to publicise his clampdown on anybody who does drugs but isn’t in the government:

… and everybody had a field day:

Of course the sharpest comments are those that aren’t humorous – just true:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The attack on #courts and #democracy was a #Tory #manifesto promise. Didn’t you know?

RIP democracy: this image of Boris Johnson in a Hitler moustache was stuck to the door of the Conservative office in Beverley, near Hull, earlier this year.

This is nothing new:

Funny how The Times has only just learned of the Johnson government’s plan to overrule court rulings, in December 2021, when it was in the Conservative manifesto for the December 2019 general election almost two years ago!

Yes, Boris Johnson backpedalled for a little while, but that’s a classic Tory tactic; they lure you into a false feeling that everything’s going to be all right and then they stab you in the back.

If it’s good enough for them when they’re electing leaders, then they’re not going to see any reason not to do it to you. Right?

It is an offence against democracy and a step into elected dictatorship – but you knew that already because This Site told you.

So did the nearly 14 million people who voted for it. Right?

Wrong?

They didn’t know?

They just voted Tory because they wanted to get out of the European Union so badly they didn’t care what else happened over the next five years?

Oh, wow. And – hey! – The Times could have told them all about it back in 2019 but didn’t?

That’s a real shame.

It’s also the reason people are told, time and time again in their lives, to RTFM.

In this case, it means Read The F-ing Manifesto!

Too late now.

Because this is one manifesto promise that Boris Johnson is hell-bent on keeping.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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#Labour cash crisis: now #Starmer is cutting MPs’ advisers – starting with #Asian #women

Rosena Allin-Khan: she has been instrumental in exposing the Tory government’s Covid-19 failures so of course Labour leader Keir Starmer is penalising her.

And you still think Starmer’s not racist?

(Not you; the above is what you could say to anyone trying to justify this.)

But what happened to Labour’s short money? This is the cash given to Opposition parties in Parliament to help them with their costs. There was an attempt to take it away from Labour (Tories are like that – they try to screw the other side any way they can) but it failed, I thought.

So there should be cash for these two MPs to hire all the help they need.

That’s unless Starmer is using the cash for other purposes. I wonder what they are?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Riley libel case: will the press hide it from the public if she LOSES?

We should all be concerned about this.

My attention has been drawn to a thread on Twitter by one @JJVinall, about the way the press reports matters concerning Rachel Riley.

Referring to an article on the BBC website headlined What is Rachel Riley’s most embarrassing habit? Mr Vinall states, “The thing about RR which really gets me is that she is trying so hard to maintain this wholesome, clear cut image and yet the facts; the evidence is there [that] this is not the case.”

He continues: “If @MidWalesMike succeeds in his case against RR I imagine two outcomes:  1. The press will ignore it and put their head in the sand. 2. The press will act as though it is a revelation that they didn’t know the case was happening and some on the optics left will no doubt act as though they were always on the side of the blogger since day one.

“This is where we are at regarding celebrity,  journalism and ethics and it explains why persons like RR etc continue to prosper though they are not role models or good individuals.”

Of the two options, my belief is that the press would ignore a verdict against Riley because she’s their darling and she’s prettier than I am. Journalistic standards these days really are that low.

I don’t think the media could call it a revelation as they have been covering the case. The angle has been “Lovely Rachel defends her reputation against black-hearted blogger” all the way through. It would be a shocking turnaround if reporters suddenly changed their tune on the basis of evidence brought out in the courts.

But that is what they would have to do, if they were to report the case impartially.

I have not been wasting the last few weeks. In my spare moments I have been reviewing my own evidence for the court and it is damning. I only wish I could tell you about some of the information that will come out when the case comes to trial.

If it comes to trial.

I still need funding to ensure that it does – now more than ever. The case should have far-reaching repercussions – and not just because of any effect it has on press reporting – so there is still a huge amount of pressure to prevent it from going before a judge.

I am raising the fundraising target – hopefully for the last time, having reached nearly 90 per cent of the current goal. Hopefully, £250,000 will be enough to cover all the costs, including any further surprises of the kind that Riley’s legal team like to spring on me.

Please help by doing one or several of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

The more people know about this, the better – partially because it will put pressure on the press to report the case fairly and accurately, and that would be a welcome change!​​​​

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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#PritiPatel #bullying: can anyone explain the logic of #HighCourt ruling against union’s legal challenge?

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson. You can imagine what he’s saying to her right now: “Keep smiling because I think we’ve got away with it!”

There’s something about this judgement that isn’t quite right.

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge by civil service union the FDA against Boris Johnson’s ruling that Priti Patel’s bullying of civil servants did not break the Ministerial Code.

Lord Justice Lewis, sitting with Mrs Justice Steyn, said that Johnson had not “misdirected himself” (misinterpreted the meaning of the Ministerial Code) when coming to his decision.

The judge said: “The question for this court is whether the prime minister proceeded on the basis that conduct would not fall within the description of bullying within paragraph 1.2 of the ministerial code if the person concerned was unaware of, or did not intend, the harm or offence caused.

“Reading the statement (made by Johnson) as a whole, and in context, we do not consider that the prime minister misdirected himself in that way.”

So the question was whether Patel could be said to have bullied someone if she was unaware of – or said she was unaware of – the harm or offence she caused.

Paragraph 1.2 of the Ministerial Code states: “Ministers should be professional in all their dealings and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect. Working relationships, including with civil servants, ministerial and parliamentary colleagues and parliamentary staff should be proper and appropriate.”

It makes no mention of whether a minister’s intentions have any bearing on whether their behaviour may breach the code; therefore Patel’s intentions were irrelevant.

This is consistent with then-advisor on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan’s, advice at the time: “Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals. To that extent, her behaviour has been in breach of the ministerial code, even if unintentionally.”

But Johnson’s ruling relied entirely on Patel’s intentions. He said Patel was “unaware” of the impact she had and he was “reassured” she was “sorry for inadvertently upsetting those with whom she was working”.

In response, Sir Alex immediately resigned his advisory role. He was not prepared to continue working for Johnson in the knowledge that the prime minister was willing to allow breaches of the Code in such a way.

And we see now that the High Court has ruled in favour of Johnson, saying he did not misdirect himself into thinking that her conduct did not fall under the description of bullying if Patel had been unaware that it was having that effect – which is odd, because his statement clearly shows that this is exactly what he said.

So the judges’ decision is wrong, it seems.

Also – strangely – the decision does not seem to take account of the main thrust of the defence put forward by Johnson’s lawyers, which was that the Ministerial Code is a “political document”, “does not create or impose any legal duties on ministers or the prime minister”, is “not required by law” and its contents “not regulated by law”.

The court’s decision shows that it does, it is, and it is – and the FDA union seems well pleased with that result, saying the high court had confirmed the prohibition on bullying, discrimination and harassment in the ministerial code is justiciable in the courts.

This Writer doesn’t see how that helps, if the High Court is just going to rubber-stamp Johnson’s decisions, no matter how illogical they are.

Dave Penman, the union’s general secretary, said the court had determined that “the prime minister did not acquit the home secretary of bullying” and he “did not reject the findings of Sir Alex Allan that her conduct amounted to bullying”.

If that were true, then wouldn’t the court have said that the Ministerial Code was indeed breached and Patel should resign? Bullying is, by definition, unprofessional, improper and inappropriate.

Still, if nothing else it means This Site and others can call her a bully with impunity.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Will #BorisJohnson’s crackdown on #drugs and the people who’ve tried them include himself?

Boris Johnson: he says he only took cocaine once.

Former cocaine user Boris Johnson reckons he’s going to crack down on drug use in the UK with measures affecting pushers and victims alike.

These include taking passports away from people who have tried – for example – cocaine, so people are asking the obvious questions:

For those who can’t read image files, he once told Piers Morgan he had taken cocaine aged 19 at Oxford but it didn’t affect him – and on Have I Got News For You, he expanded on this by saying he sneezed and the substance did not go up his nose: “I may have been doing icing sugar.”

Well, we don’t know that for sure, do we?

He told The Sun on Sunday: “Most of the crime driven by drugs is generated by 300,000 heroin and crack cocaine users — tragic people who have lost their way in life.”

That’s certainly true of Johnson himself, no matter how much of the drug he has take – or says he has.

He also said: “The country is ­littered with victims of what’s happened. We are going to look at new ways of penalising them.

“Things that will actually interfere with their lives so we will look at taking away passports and driving licences.”

So he’ll be penalising the victims of drug pushers? What a nasty man. Still, if he includes himself – by confiscating his own passport, perhaps – then at least we won’t be able to say he’s being unfair.

But we know – don’t we? – that this will be another instance of “one rule for us; a different rule for him”.

He can’t even get the story straight on the amount of harm drug use has caused.

He said: “I came in on a pledge to cut crime and it has come down quite a long way.”

Sorry – what?

Drug deaths in England and Wales are at their highest level since records began in 1993, with 4,561 people dying last year!

Perhaps Johnson had forgotten that, because of whatever substance was addling his mind during his Sun interview.

I wonder if the Downing Street Christmas parties have started yet?

Top scientist condemns #Covid19 ‘lack of leadership’ and demands international #vaccination

He’s right, you know: Sir Jeremy Farrar quit Sage so he could tell you the government is wrong about Covid-19.

Isn’t it funny how scientists instantly start singing a different song, the instant they stop being employed by the government?

Sir Jeremy Farrar quit the Tory government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) last month.

Now he is joining the growing number of people calling for vaccines to be supplied internationally, rather than being rationed according to which countries can pay.

He accused rich countries of taking “a very blinkered domestic focus, lulled into thinking that the worst of the pandemic was behind us”.

“The longer this virus continues to spread in largely unvaccinated populations globally, the more likely it is that a variant that can overcome our vaccines and treatments will emerge,” he wrote. “If that happens, we could be close to square one.

“This political drift and lack of leadership is prolonging the pandemic for everyone, with governments unwilling to really address inequitable access to the vaccines, tests and treatment.

“There have been wonderful speeches, warm words, but not the actions needed to ensure fair access to what we know works and would bring the pandemic to a close.”

He’s right, of course – and the emergence of the Omicron variant has proved it.

It is believed to have developed in a country that has not been broadly vaccinated: Covid is much more likely to mutate in places where vaccination is low and transmission is high, while immunisation greatly reduces the change of new variants emerging.

So providing the vaccine to poorer countries is a matter of survival, not profit.

But just try telling that to Boris Johnson after he spent the last – almost – two years helping Tory donors and friends profiteer from Covid!

Source: ‘Lack of leadership prolonging Covid pandemic’ says top scientist warning UK is heading ‘back to square one’

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#Police will be asked to investigate Parliamentary #drug use. We know what they’ll say!

Hoyle: is this how he’ll react when the Metropolitan Police refuse to investigate cocaine use in Parliament, on grounds that they don’t investigate crimes retrospectively?

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has announced that he will ask the Metropolitan Police to investigate cocaine use in Parliament:

Apparently all but one of 12 lavatory areas in Parliament that were tested showed traces of cocaine.

That’s all very well, but we know what the answer will be, after Cressida Dick’s response to complaints about the Downing Street Christmas party of December 18, 2020:

It turns out that Met Commissioner Cressida Dick herself previously said the Met had many retrospective investigations on the go:

But that was a while ago. Clearly the new less-than-one-year limitation on investigating crime retrospectively came in after 2017.

Funny that none of us ever heard of it, though…

Still, we know the answer Hoyle will hear – right?

So the Met Police won’t be investigating druggie MPs.

If it does launch a probe, then the failure to investigate the Downing Street party will be a serious breach of procedure. But we know that already, too – right?

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