Category Archives: lockdown

Sunak flounders over WhatsApps and Eat Out To Help Out at Covid inquiry

Rishi Sunak at the Covid Inquiry: is that smirk Duper’s Delight?

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s current prime minister, made a dog’s dinner of his evidence on his Covid-19-boosting Eat Out To Help Out initiative in his first day in the hot seat at the Covid inquiry.

He also made himself look stupid over his failure to deliver WhatsApp messages that he should have kept, in order to make them available to the inquiry.

In the light of these failings, his apology – was it an apology? Or was it just an expression of sympathy to the families of people who have died of Covid? – fell flatter than a cowpat.

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The video evidence speaks for itself so I’ll just deliver what I’ve found and let you make up your own mind about it.

Here’s the apology:

This is what I could find about the WhatsApps:

Here’s the juice about Eat Out To Help Out:

Oh, and just for fun, here’s what Sunak had to say about lockdown:

Here’s the whole hearing, if you’ve got the stomach for it:

https://www.youtube.com/live/qzi4DDNi3Jk?si=Ygz-vMH2Ng0WClOO

Finally, let’s have some reaction. I apologise that this is from LBC:

For balance, here’s Phil Moorhouse and A Different Bias:

More will follow – inevitably.


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Matt Hancock trashes Tory Covid-19 policy at the Covid Inquiry

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader, if you remember.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 27) was Matt Hancock’s big day at the Covid Inquiry – and he didn’t waste any words trashing Tory policy.

This Writer’s problem will be if there’s a discrepancy between what he’s saying now and what he did back then – spring 2020 onwards. I’m pretty sure there is, but let’s establish what he said first.

Oh dear! He fell at the first hurdle.

This Site has covered the matter of asymptomatic transmission – and especially how it related to care homes – extensively. You can get a flavour of it in this article about a leak of WhatsApp messages earlier this year – and it also contains many links to other articles on the subject.

Hancock also had a few things to say about care homes…

Here’s a biggie: BREXIT ENDED LIVES:

Oh hang on – Hancock reckons some of the Brexit preparedness stuff would have helped with Covid-19, too…

 

For the rest, I’m going to rely on a lot of information from Robert Peston, who was live-tweeting while Hancock was giving his testimony. It runs as follows:

Let’s have a response from people who lost family members because of the government’s Covid-19 failures:

For the moment, I’m presenting this evidence as it is. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about it. I’ll want some time to look into the implications.

It seems certain the inquiry will turn up more – and possibly even more damning – evidence as it continues.

Rees-Mogg was mistaken: Met Police launches new probe into Covid-19 lockdown breaches by Tories

Jacob Rees-Mogg: it’s all one big amusement to him.

Jacob Rees-Mogg made an ill-fated assertion that was caught on video.

He said a Christmas party that broke Covid-19 rules would not be investigated by the police:

It turns out he was mistaken:

The Metropolitan Police has launched a new investigation into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in No 10 and other official residences during the pandemic.

The force issued an update on Monday saying it was “assessing information and new material” over gatherings in 2020 and 2021.

It includes fresh allegations of rule-breaking in Downing Street and at the Prime Minister’s Chequers countryside retreat in June 2020 and May 2021.

The Met Police will also investigate a Christmas party held by Conservative Party staff in December 2020, after video footage emerged of attendees dancing, drinking, and joking about “bending the rules”.

That’s going to take a lot of hard work, isn’t it? Here’s the video clip:

There are photos as well.

Hmm.

Won’t it be a shame if Shaun Bailey starts his time in the House of Lords by being fined as a common criminal?

Source: Met Police launches new Partygate investigation over lockdown Covid breaches at No10


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Here’s why the Cabinet Office referred Boris Johnson to police for MORE Covid rule breaches

Partygate: here’s a shot of Boris Johnson at a Downing Street party that took place during Covid-19 lockdown. Did he mislead Parliament about them?

This could be the stupidest blunder in a lifetime of stupid blunders for Boris Johnson.

It seems that, because his defence against allegations that he misled Parliament is being bankrolled by the public (with around a quarter of a million pounds spent so far), Johnson’s lawyers have to provide the Cabinet Office with all information relevant to his behaviour during the times concerned.

Such information was contained in his diary – but after reading it, officials reported Johnson to the police in both London and Thames Valley.

Apparently it contains information on further breaches of the rule against mixing with other people during the Covid-19 lockdowns between June 2020 and May 2021.

Both police services refer to breaches of the Health Protection Regulations.

Here’s some meat to cover the bones of this story:

Some of Johnson’s friends (yes, apparently he still has some) in the Conservative Party have come to his defence – like Ben Bradley:

So he reckons we’ve all moved on.

Some of us haven’t moved on from his libelling of Jeremy Corbyn, back in 2018 (his apology for doing so remains the most-shared tweet ever published by a Conservative MP). Or from his suggestion that the online reporter who revealed the libel should be castrated. Or, indeed, from his desire to starve hungry children by denying the extension of free school meals in holidays during the Covid-19 lockdown periods.

Perhaps Mr Bradley should have kept his mouth shut.

Then again, perhaps Johnson should have kept his mouth shut too, when he said he had no knowledge of any Covid-19 rule breaches involving him.


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Rishi Sunak nailed over peerages for lockdown partygoers

Rishi Sunak’s third Prime Minister’s Questions started badly for the struggling new prime minister, when he was asked to deny peerages to any Tory who received a fine for partying during Covid-19 lockdown.

This Writer doesn’t like the questioner – Neil Coyle is a far-right Labour MP who was once suspended from the party for alleged racism against a British-Chinese journalist, and who has been accused of anti-Semitism.

None of what he did today (November 9, 2022) should excuse him of those transgressions if he committed them.

But the point he raised was good and deserves to be amplified at a time when there are concerns that former prime minister Boris Johnson is trying to use the honours system to give perks to political friends who don’t deserve them.

Shaun Bailey, the former London mayoral candidate who faced a backlash for attending a mid-lockdown Christmas party (and who also happens to belong to an ethnic minority – I mention this with reference to the allegations against Coyle but would merely observe that it was probably unwise for him to raise this question, considering his history), was also said to be on the former prime minister’s list.

And his line that Tories who jeered at him could “all go to Australia and eat kangaroo testicles for all I care”, in recognition of Matt Hancock’s imminent appearance on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, is a good one.

Sunak proved once again that he is a weak prime minister; he didn’t answer the question and instead fell back on a list of what he says the Tory government did – a list that many may find objectionable:

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Can Johnson really claim he didn’t know Downing Street parties he attended were illegal?

Boozy Johnson: this is not an image of him at the Downing Street garden party on May 20, 2020 (it was actually taken in 2019) but it serves to suggest his behaviour there quite adequately.

The easy answer to the question in the headline is: no, he should have known his parties broke the law.

I say “his” parties because they were parties at 10 Downing Street, his home and place of work, taking place directly under his nose and that he attended in many instances. They were part of a “party culture” created during his watch.

And I say he should have known they broke the law because he announced to all of us what the law was – and it didn’t allow for social gatherings in a work setting, by the way. Furthermore, evidence in the Sue Gray report shows that his aides certainly did know that these events were legally questionable because they took steps to prevent the press from finding out about them.

Let’s discuss the party in the Downing Street garden on the evening of May 20, 2020 when Covid-19 regulations stated that “participating in a gathering of more than two persons in public was prohibited except where the gathering was ‘essential for work purposes'”, but had been amended to allow “meetings outdoors for exercise or recreation with one person from another household”.

Clearly an after-hours drinks event in the garden of 10 Downing Street, with more than 200 people invited to socialise with each other – even if socially-distanced – would have been a flagrant breach of these regulations.

It would have been a gathering of more than two persons in public that was not essential for work purposes, and it would have been a meeting outdoors between multiple people from more than one other household.

This did not stop Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, from advertising it by email, while other officials requested that tables be put out by the “Internal Events” team – which This Writer would have thought clearly marks this out as an illegal social occasion.

Alcohol was available at the event – both supplied by officials and also via a request for attendees to “Bring your own booze!”

In total, around 200 staff were invited although it is believed attendance was around 40 – still a massive breach of the regulations at the time.

Here’s the punchline: those arranging the event – including Reynolds – knew it was against the rules because they went to lengths to hide it from members of the media who attended a press conference just before it was due to take place.

According to the Gray Report, a Number 10 special advisor sent this message to Reynolds:

Just to flag that the press conference will probably be finishing around that time, so helpful if people can be mindful of that as speakers and cameras are leaving, not walking around waving bottles of wine etc”.

Martin Reynolds replied:

“Will do my best!….”

The report continues:

A No 10 Director declined the invitation and told the investigation that they had raised with either Martin Reynolds or his office that it was not a good idea.

Lee Cain, the then No 10 Director of Communications (a special adviser), also
received the invitation. In response, he emailed Martin Reynolds, No 10 official (1),
and Dominic Cummings at 14.35 on 20 May 2020 stating: “I’m sure it will be fine –
and I applaud the gesture – but a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden
of no 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment.” Lee Cain says
he subsequently spoke to Martin Reynolds and advised him that the event should
be cancelled. Martin Reynolds does not recall any such conversation. In addition,
Dominic Cummings has also said that he too raised concerns, in writing. We have
not found any documentary evidence of this.

Referring to the event itself, it is clear that – once again – Boris Johnson attended and participated fully:

The Prime Minister attended at approximately 18.00 for around 30 minutes to thank staff before returning to his office with Martin Reynolds for a meeting at 18.30.

So he was there with Martin Reynolds, who knew it was an illegal gathering. He should have known himself that it was an illegal gathering, being the government representative who had explained the rules to the rest of us. But he not only allowed it to happen but attended and spent 30 minutes with the 40 staff there.

The excuse that he only stopped by to thank staff for their work during the Covid crisis doesn’t make sense because it does not take 30 minutes to make a brief speech of thanks. It seems clear that Johnson was himself socialising with staff, adding his own household to all the others that should not have been mixing at that time, according to the rules that he had put in place.

How strange that the Metropolitan Police who investigated this event, and must have known that it was an illegal party attended by the prime minister, chose not to fine him for this flagrant law-breaking! How convenient for them that their Acting Commissioner was able to dismiss this omission simply by declaring that, as far as he was concerned, all the decisions were above-board!

Reynolds, who subsequently had a meeting with Johnson inside 10 Downing Street, sent a WhatsApp message to a special advisor later in the evening, which appears to be about a story in the press:

[Martin Reynolds] [19:36] “Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).”

In the light of all this evidence, it is not credible for Boris Johnson to claim that he had not fallen foul of rules in the Ministerial Code because he had not broken the law on purpose.

He should have known himself that the event broke his rules because he was the one who laid them down for us all.

His principal private secretary certainly knew that the event broke Johnson’s own rules, and attended the event with Johnson. Considering the contents of his electronic correspondence, it seems extremely unlikely that he did not mention to Johnson that the event was illegal.

Also, if the event was not against the rules, why was everybody involved so tight-lipped about it, to the point of hiding it from the media?

And this is just one of many such parties.

It doesn’t matter what Johnson says – the evidence exposes him as a liar.

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Only crooks change the rules to save their own skin – as Boris Johnson has done

RIP democracy: how true, when Boris Johnson is re-writing the government code of conduct to allow him to act dishonestly and corruptly without any fear of punishment.

Angela Rayner is right – this really is the action of a “tinpot despot”.

Terrified that he’ll be forced out of office for breaking his own Covid-19 lockdown rules – and, more to the point, lying about it to Parliament – Boris Johnson has changed the Ministerial Code to eliminate forced resignation or expulsion as a penalty.

This wretched rat’s rewrite means that, from now on, ministers will not always be expected to resign for breaching the code of conduct. Under new sanctions, they could apologise or temporarily lose their pay instead.

The Guardian states that,

Johnson also blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, and rewrote the foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.

… because he has none of those qualities and does not understand what they mean, one presumes.

His spokespeople at 10 Downing Street have tried to justify the changes by saying it is “disproportionate to expect that any breach, however minor, should lead automatically to resignation or dismissal”.

Why?

UK government ministers should be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct in the world. Any breach of those standards should be met with the sternest penalty.

If MPs like Johnson cannot accept that responsibility, then they should not have even tried to become members of a government, let alone leaders of it.

So let me suggest a response to Downing Street’s self-serving statement, as follows:

It is inappropriate for a serving prime minister to alter the rules by which his conduct will be judged, when his conduct is about to be judged.

Johnson has certainly lived up to Keir Starmer’s appraisal of the standard he sets for himself: “lower than a snake’s belly”.

We can all see that.

And I don’t think the general public will find it in the slightest way amusing.

If the Conservative Party keeps him as its leader, then it is heading for a landslide loss at the next general election – which, remember, is likely to take place after another two-and-a-half years of his corruption.

Some leading Tories have read the writing on the wall and are already calling for his removal.

Will the rest of them please develop backbones over the weekend so we can restore a shred of integrity to our legislature?

Source: Boris Johnson accused of changing ministerial code to ‘save his skin’ | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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Partygate: Met Police Acting Commissioner pathetically tries to whitewash Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson: the prime minister is pictured participating in a party to mark the departure of Lee Cain from his Downing Street communications job – but according to Acting Met Police Commissioner Sir Stephen House, there is “no clear evidence” that he took part in the rampant Covid-19 rule-breaking there.

A police officer who witnessed “a large number of people” at a “crowded and noisy” party, where “some members of staff drank excessively” did not immediately take action over Covid-19 rule breaches because he was there for security and not to “police what goes on inside the building”, according to Met Police Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House.

Have you ever read such nonsense? Police officers are sworn to uphold the law at all times, no matter what their stated duties are said to be. Would he have turned a blind eye to burglary, or rape, because he was assigned to “security”?

Apparently the same officer did not feel that a large number of drunken people in a crowded and noisy room breached Covid-19 regulations that strictly prohibited such social gatherings.

It’s no wonder this “acting” Commissioner’s other comments are also shockingly inadequate in the light of this.

House told the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee there was “no clear evidence” that Johnson had breached Covid-19 rules many times in Downing Street, despite the very clear photographic evidence of him participating in a party to mark the departure of Lee Cain from Downing Street on November 13, 2020.

This was not a “works gathering”. Far too many people were present and they were socialising and drinking alcohol – as was the prime minister, who gave a speech. The amount of time he spent there was immaterial because the rules in place at the time prohibited all such social events from taking place at all.

At least one attendee was fined for being at this event but there was “no clear evidence” that Boris Johnson was there or took part, according to House.

House also suggested that it was difficult for his officers to work out which gatherings were work-related and which were not. How daft! If alcoholic drinks were visible in the room, then they weren’t work-related. And in any case, if the room was packed with people, meaning they were not at least 2m away from each other in accordance with social distancing rules, they were breaking the law.

House said he was personally involved in the decision-making and was confident in the outcome of the police investigation. That should be enough for us to demand that he surrender his badge.

Is he selling us down the river so he can gain the favour of the top Tories?

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Sue Gray report in depth: how many times was Boris Johnson drunk in charge of a nation?

Boozy Johnson: it seems he spent most of the Covid-19 crisis drunk, along with many of the staff at Downing Street – and the Met Police, together with Sue Gray, have been trying to cover-up his wrongdoing.

Isn’t it a shame that Sue Gray’s report into the drunken party culture that prevailed at Downing Street from early 2020 until late 2021 (at least) is so uneven.

Parts of it are thoroughly researched, but other parts – especially, it seems, where Boris Johnson is concerned, are amateurish.

Consider the report’s entry about a gathering in the Downing Street flat on the evening of November 13, 2020.

Ms Gray states that after the announcement that Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain were leaving, a meeting was held in the Number 10 flat to discuss the handling of their departure.

It started at 6pm, involving five special advisors, and Johnson himself turned up at 8pm. Food and alcohol were available and the “discussion” continued into the evening with people leaving at various points.

This was not a works gathering – it was a party.

If it had been a works gathering, then it would have taken place in an office – not the flat. Alcohol would certainly not have been available – have you ever been to a work meeting where booze was being served up to all and sundry? I haven’t! People attend work events to work – not to drink. And everybody would have stayed until the meeting was closed by its chair, if it were a works gathering.

Johnson was getting drunk with his mates in his flat and they simply pretended it was a works gathering to diddle the rules, or so it seems to me. Doesn’t it look that way to you?

Ms Gray’s report states she had to halt her investigation because the police inquiry began, and did not re-start it when the Met had finished their dog’s dinner of a probe because she did not think it was “appropriate or proportionate” to do so.

Is this because she feared that she would expose her boss’s lawbreaking further than it already has been?

I’ve looked in detail at just three events so far. All were parties, and Boris Johnson participated fully in all of them. At those times, he was drunk in charge of the nation – and these were times when the nation needed a sober hand at the helm.

It was a flagrant abuse of power that both the Met Police and Ms Gray seem to have been doing their utmost to cover up. Shame on them – and shame on all of us if we allow them to get away with it.

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Sue Gray: Boris Johnson definitely attended November 13, 2020 party. He lied. He must go

‘All the lawbreaking happened after I left’, says Johnson. Look at him, participating fully in Lee Cain’s leaving party in Downing Street. He actually gave a speech, while drinking alcohol at this social event in flagrant breach of lockdown laws that were then in force. Now he’s lying about it AGAIN. He treated you with utter contempt. He MUST be flushed out of Parliament like the excrement he is.

Clearly Sue Gray disagrees with the Metropolitan Police about Boris Johnson’s participation in Lee Cain’s leaving party on November 13, 2020.

Images of Johnson at the party were published by ITV News on Monday (May 23) and you can read This Writer’s article about it here.

In her report, Ms Gray states: “There was a leaving speech and drinks in No 10 for Lee Cain later that day, which the Prime Minister attended.

“A number of press office staff and media special advisers gathered in the Press Office area of No 10 to mark the departure of Lee Cain, the No 10 Director of Communications.

“The investigation was informed that this was not pre-planned. It did occur at around the time that ‘Wine Time Friday’ would normally be taking place.

“The Prime Minister attended on his way to his Downing Street flat, having left his office at 19.17. He went to the Press Office area, joined the gathering and made a leaving speech for Lee Cain.

“Wine had been provided and those attending, including the Prime Minister, were drinking alcohol. There are a number of photographs of the event.”

He joined the gathering and those attending, including the prime minister, were drinking alcohol.

Clearly it was a social gathering – a party. Clearly Johnson was there. Clearly he participated fully, including imbibing alcohol.

This belies his own claim to fellow MPs in the House of Commons. As I stated yesterday: “Questioned in Parliament on whether a party had taken place on that date, Johnson said, ‘No but I’m sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed, and the rules were followed at all times.'”

As I write this, Johnson is telling his fellow MPs, once again, a load of nonsense that any wrongdoing happened after he had left. This is clearly untrue as the pictorial evidence shows.

He did attend these events and participated in them fully. He did lie to Parliament about it.

This corrupt crook should resign. But we can see from his behaviour today that he absolutely will not.

It is up to his fellow Parliamentarians – the MPs that he deliberately and corruptly deceived – to force him out before he drags the UK’s Parliament into any more disgrace.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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