Word of the day is ‘pish-monger’ (17th century): one who frequently says ‘pish’ to others and treats them with contempt.
— Susie Dent 💙 (@susie_dent) January 11, 2022
That will be Boris Johnson, then – the prime minister who has such contempt for the people who elected him into office that he could not be bothered to attend Parliament to answer an urgent question on why he attended “Bring Your Own Booze” parties in Downing Street while we were locked down by his rules.
Instead of Johnson, questions from highly emotional, enraged MPs were evaded by Paymaster General Michael Ellis…
The Speaker has granted an Urgent Question in Parliament today on the Downing Street Party revelations.
But instead of facing up to it, Boris Johnson has ordered a junior minister to answer for him.
He's not just a self-interested liar. He's a coward too.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) January 11, 2022
…who managed to add a fair few lies of his own to those that have already been spoken by his boss.
After an email inviting 100 Downing Street employees to a party in the garden of Number 10 was publicised – more than a year and a half late, for reasons known only to whoever leaked it, Labour’s Angela Rayner secured time for an Urgent Question in the House of Commons.
It seems witnesses have said both Johnson and his wife were at the gathering on May 20, 2020 – the same day minister Oliver Dowden announced harsh new lockdown rules for the general public. Clearly, Johnson (again) did not feel those rules applied to him.
And days later, the same garden was used as the venue for a televised press conference in which then-advisor Dominic Cummings received Johnson’s support in justifying his lockdown-busting trip to see relatives in Barnard Castle. It seems Cummings knew he could count on Johnson’s help because he knew about Johnson’s involvement with the parties. Wouldn’t you agree?
Ellis repeatedly stated that an independent investigation is taking place, headed by second secretary to the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray.
But it has now been revealed that Gray herself was invited to these parties:
Sue Gray, who took over the investigation of the No 10 Downing Street Lockdown Parties from Simon Case when he was found to have hosted a party himself..
..has now been found to have been invited to the parties she is investigating 🤦♂️
— Lloyd Hardy (@LloydHardy) January 11, 2022
So she knew about them from May 2020 onwards but said nothing. The previous lead investigator on Downing Street Parties – Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – recused himself after it was alleged that he had personally attended such a party.
So the current lead investigator was invited to the parties whose existence she is investigating, and didn’t say anything about it at the time.
Oh, and her investigation can’t be independent. She is a civil servant in the Cabinet Office, who is directly responsible to Boris Johnson. He is her boss. So Michael Ellis must have been lying when he made his claim.
Every time a Minister goes out to lie for Boris Johnson it creates an even greater impression that Tory MP's are totally complicit in everything their leader does.
— Carole Hawkins (@hawkins_carole) January 11, 2022
Lying to Parliament is forbidden by the Ministerial Code, and the penalty is that an MP must resign. Strange that Michael Ellis has done no such thing.
But then, the Ministerial Code is overseen by – guess who? – Boris Johnson. And he has already overridden the findings of one “independent” report in order to protect a minister in his government (Priti Patel) so perhaps Ellis felt secure in his actions.
Ellis also said that Johnson himself would answer questions about the Downing Street Parties in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 12). But this only led to speculation about his reason for not facing MPs at the Urgent Question:
It's a pretty good bet that he will follow in Ellis's footsteps and use the exact same answer to every single question that 'we can't prejudge and must wait for Sue Gray's report' and repeat and repeat
— Paul Elliott 💙 (@pelliott1954) January 11, 2022
None of it is good enough.
The simple fact is that participation in large gatherings was against the law at the time and we have evidence that Johnson was there.
It is therefore the duty of the Metropolitan Police to arrest him and interview him to determine the extent of his involvement in this crime.
The Met has said it is in contact with Downing Street about the matter but if Johnson is not arrested, it will raise – once again – concerns that the UK’s prime minister really is above the law…
… that we really do live in a nation that has one rule for the majority of the population – law-abiding citizens – and no rules at all for those like Johnson who set the rules for the rest of us.
That revelation will erode the fabric of society.
People will rightly demand to know why they should follow demands by Johnson that restrict our freedom, when he merrily does whatever he feels like, whenever he feels like it.
They will decide that they can break the rules too. And if the police turn up, they’ll remind the coppers that policing in the UK is by consent – and that their consent is withdrawn in response to the failure of the police to uphold the law impartially.
If the police were to try to clamp down on those people, they would create an incident that could seriously harm public order across the country.
Perhaps Johnson and his cadre, sitting in their ivory tower in Westminster, don’t realise what they have done.
They have turned the UK into a tinderbox. One wrong move by just one bright spark among them and it could explode.
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