So much for the 10pm pub curfew. Once again, it seems, the Tories have led by example – if it’s okay for them to break it, it’s okay for you to break it too.
According to the Mail, of all papers, Matt Hancock – the Health Secretary who championed lockdown measures like the curfew – was caught breaking it after a late-evening vote:
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was last night accused of breaking his own Covid curfew by drinking in a Commons bar beyond 10pm – where he made a crass joke about the Government’s test and trace failings.
Mr Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and announced: ‘The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.’
His ill-conceived joke came after he had tried to explain to the Commons why the quango had lost nearly 16,000 positive coronavirus tests – a fiasco which Labour claimed had put ‘lives at risk’.
A senior Tory MP told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Hancock remained in the Smoking Room bar until at least 10.25pm, despite Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle insisting that Commons venues must abide by the same 10pm drink-up-and-leave curfew as all English pubs.
A spokesperson for Hancock has tried to explain away what happened, but the comment lacks something – namely any explanation of where Hancock was after 10pm on the evening in question:
In a carefully worded statement last night, a spokesman for the Health Secretary said: ‘No rules have been broken.
‘The Secretary of State was in the Smoking Room prior to the vote that evening.
‘The Secretary of State left the Smoking Room to vote. The vote took place at 9:42pm. ‘The Secretary of State then departed the Parliamentary estate to go home.’
Asked whether Mr Hancock had returned to the bar after voting and before he went home, the spokesman failed to respond.
Doesn’t that tend to indicate that he had?
The public verdict is out already:
#ToryLawBreakers #ToryCorruption #ToryIncompetence #ToryLiesCostLives #Ridge #Marr
Health Secretary Matt Hancock ‘breaks his own curfew rules whilst late night drinking and then jokes about Covid-19’ https://t.co/E8ojP5HJft
— Dorset Eye (Independent Citizen Community Media) (@dorset_eye) October 11, 2020
Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
— JD Black🥀 (@_JD_Black) October 11, 2020
But the story was omitted from mention on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today (October 11) – for no apparent reason:
Just like #Cummings he'll attempt to say 'no rules were broken'.
— Chilli Palmer (@SinnersCafe) October 11, 2020
— Briefcase Michael (@BriefcaseMike) October 11, 2020
— Clapton Blues (@garyfoskett) October 11, 2020
I publish this tweet also, as it links Hancock with the acts of other Tories:
— NMcB🍀🏴 (@neilperth2) October 11, 2020
The practical upshot of all this is that Hancock has provided us all with an excuse to drink – in pubs – after the 10pm curfew.
If it’s okay for the Health Secretary to carry on drinking in the Smoking Bar of Parliament, it is clearly fine for the rest of us to do the same.
That’s leadership by example.
And if we all do it, there’s nothing the Tories or the police can do about it.
Yes – there is the question of public safety. But the government has never provided a scrap of evidence that drinking in pubs between 10pm and 11pm actually increases the risk of catching Covid-19 to those involved.
And there needs to be accountability.
If these arrogant, unaccountable Tories keep breaking their own rules, they need to see that we will ignore those rules as well. We are all in this together.
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