Category Archives: restrictions

Now #SueGray’s report on #DowningStreetParties is delayed as #MetPolice step in

Cressida Dick: at long last she is announcing an investigation into the alleged Downing Street parties by the Metropolitan Police.

The findings of a Cabinet Office investigation into alleged parties at 10 Downing Street will apparently be withheld after Cressida Dick announced that the Metropolitan Police will investigate potential criminal offences.

Here she is, making her announcement:

I don’t know what you think, but it looks to This Writer like she was forced into it!

Police have steadfastly refused to pay any attention to the alleged criminality in Downing Street from at least May 15, 2020 onwards, with ministers, advisors and staff allegedly breaking lockdown rules on a habitual basis while the public were arrested and fined more than £1,000 for doing the same.

Not only that, of course, but those of us who followed the rules that Boris Johnson read out to us in March 2020 were separated from our family members and loved ones who caught Covid-19 and sadly died of the disease, and from those who died of other causes.

We feel that Boris Johnson treated us with contempt while he did whatever he wanted.

Ms Dick’s announcement adds another layer of distrust with the understanding that the Cabinet Office inquiry into the parties, by Johnson’s employee Sue Gray (and therefore not an independent investigation), will delay its report until the police finish their work.

It’s a delaying tactic, isn’t it?

But the latest revelation – that a party (no matter how brief) was held for Boris Johnson’s birthday, and he attended it – really should hammer the last nail into the coffin of his political career.

He has persistently insisted that no parties took place, that he wasn’t informed about them, that he didn’t attend them, and even that he didn’t realise what they were when he did attend them. The evolution of his story has shown that he has lied to Parliament – and that is an offence for which he must resign.

He should use any extra time he’s been given to put his affairs in order.

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Tory #SteveBaker reckons #BorisJohnson is facing #checkmate over #Partygate

Steve Baker.

Boris Johnson’s position must be precarious indeed if arch-Brexiter Steve Baker is saying he’s had his day.

Baker, interviewed by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, admitted that Johnson wasn’t elected for his grasp of “tedious rules”, but… well, see/hear it for yourself:

It’s possible that this MP’s words are motivated by his own issues with Johnson’s Covid-19 strategy.

But Johnson is (prematurely, perhaps) scrapping health protection measures (Baker would call them restrictions) related to the Omicron wave of Covid-19. As a staunch opponent of Covid-related protections that hinder the economy, Baker might be expected to get behind his prime minister in support, and not to stab him in the back.

But the crux of the matter is Johnson’s persistent breaking of his own Covid-19 rules. Perhaps this has offended Baker’s sense of fair play (if a Tory can be said to have such a thing): the rest of us have been having to abide by rules that Baker didn’t think were necessary, yet Johnson seemed clearly to have decided to ignore them, even before he read them out to us.

It’s likely that this is the reason Baker denounced Johnson’s behaviour as “appalling”, saying the public were right to be “furious” and suggesting that the prime minister is facing “checkmate”.

The word from Downing Street is still to wait until Sue Gray reports on her inquiry. But she’s a Johnson employee, of course.

And with accusations that Johnson’s allies are blackmailing Tory MPs to withhold “no confidence” letters, will we really have to wait that long until he’s ousted?

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#Covid19 #planB rules will be lifted in England on January 27

Jabber Johnson: he says people still need to be vaccinated as the Omicron variant is “not a mild disease for everyone”.

Boris Johnson has announced that health protection regulations that he brought in to minimise the effect of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will be ended on Thursday, January 27.

For clarity, this means:

  • The end of mandatory Covid passes in England, with businesses allowed to use them if they choose
  • Mandatory face masks will end, including in classrooms for secondary students and on public transport – meaning people will not be criminalised for choosing not to wear them
  • The end to work from home guidance
  • Restrictions on care homes will be eased, with detail to be released
  • However, there will still be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid

As Johnson made his announcement, a Scottish MP asked: “Is the PM scrapping the rules because he doesn’t understand them?” in a harsh – but fair – comment on the prime minister’s latest “Partygate” excuse.

Johnson said his government got the tough decisions right – but did he?

He failed to identify the seriousness of Omicron when it was first reported. He didn’t close the UK’s borders; he practically invited Omicron into the country.

He failed to impose new health protection measures in time to prevent more than a million people from catching the new strain of Covid-19.

He failed to equip the NHS to take the added strain created by the two failures listed above, meaning doctors and nurses were pushed to their limit and beyond. The future of healthcare in the UK is looking bleak because these professionals will be reassessing their decision to work here.

And there is no guarantee that a Johnson government will not make the same mistakes again, if another variant of Covid-19 washes up on the UK’s shores.

Every decision Johnson has made about Covid-19 has been determined by whether a Tory, or a Tory donor, can make money from it.

This announcement merely highlights more reasons Johnson must be removed from office.

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#BorisJohnson lies: he says nobody told him about party rules THAT HE ANNOUNCED TO US

Press briefing: on March 23, 2020, Boris Johnson ordered the UK into lockdown in a live TV broadcast. He explained that all public gatherings were banned and this was to be enforced by police action including arrest and fines. He is now saying that he did not understand those rules when he permitted huge parties to take place at 10 Downing Street during the time he had locked the UK down.

Boris Johnson is trying to take us all for fools.

His latest attempt to duck out of responsibility for those Downing Street lockdown parties is in a televised interview in which the PM, masked to hide his liars smirk(?), tells us nobody told him that having a social event in the Downing Street garden involving more than a handful of people was against lockdown rules.

This is obviously a lie. Not only was Johnson the one who announced the rules to us on March 23, 2020

But he was also reminded of those rules on the day of the party called by his own Personal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds – according to his then-advisor, Dominic Cummings.

Johnson has denied it but we know that Johnson is a liar. When a liar accuses another person of lying, who do you believe?

The evidence is irrefutable.

But Johnson’s Tory supporters (a dwindling group, it must be admitted) still say they’re waiting for the results of an inquiry by Johnson’s civil service employee Sue Gray, saying they’ll consider what to do if Johnson is found to have lied.

Johnson’s supporters are desperately trying to convince us that Gray’s inquiry will be impartial; it won’t. It can’t be. And even if she tries to run it in that manner, it won’t make much difference. It was commissioned by her boss, Boris Johnson. It will report to her boss, Boris Johnson. And her boss Boris Johnson will decide what action to take, based on its findings.

We all know from experience that he’ll find in his own favour, even if the evidence is as damning as we all know it should be.

His detractors, of course, don’t have to wait.

One last thing:

Remember that whenever Johnson tells us he “didn’t understand the rules” that he himself announced to us, live on television.

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#OperationSaveBigDog? No, Tories. Take him to the vet & have him put down, for his sake and ours

Treacherous cur: Boris Johnson is pictured next to Martin Reynolds at the Downing Street garden party on May 15, 2020, a bottle of booze on the table next to them. Now, it seems Johnson wants Reynolds to take the rap for the parties, to save the prime minister’s pointless career.

It’s exactly as we all thought. Rather than accept responsibility for creating a culture of corruption at Downing Street in which employees were encouraged to have parties while the rest of the UK lived in isolation, Boris Johnson is going to scapegoat the staff.

It seems he has drawn up a list of colleagues he intends to throw under the bus in order to save his own worthless career.

They include Martin Reynolds, the private secretary who invited 100 people to a party in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020 and with whom Johnson is pictured at a party in the Downing Street garden on May 15, 2020.

Apparently he’s calling it “Operation save Big Dog”. Here are the details.

One has to question why Johnson thinks pretending other people are responsible for the attitude of contempt for the rules that he created will help him – for a very obvious reason.

The latest story has it that Downing Street staff were having drinks parties every week during lockdown – as suggested by Johnson. The Mirror called it “Boris Johnson’s wine time Fridays“.

The staff scapegoating plan hasn’t gone down well among the political community:

… Or indeed among the public:

If I was one of the staff members being pressurised to quit so Boris Johnson can save a career that isn’t worth saving, I’d be handing my phone full of lockdown-busting party invitations to the investigators – after using it to call the Mirror, the Torygraph and all the other members of the press pack who are baying for prime ministerial blood.

This is one “Big Dog” who needs to be put out of our misery.

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Is this the reason #DowningStreet #police aren’t being grilled about all those parties?

Take a look at this image:

For those who can’t see well or read from images, the text states: “This is Bas Javid. He’s the brother of Sajid Javid the Health Minister. He’s also the Assistant Commissioner for Professional Standards. In case you’re wondering why the police aren’t investigating the conduct of police officers at Number 10.”

It is indeed an image of Sajid Javid’s brother Basit, who is indeed an Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police.

He was promoted to the role while Sajid Javid was Home Secretary. Feel free to come to your own opinion about whether the appointment was entirely based on his own merits.

I would also encourage you to draw your own conclusion as to whether this close relative of a member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet may have been influenced to veto any investigation into the conduct of Metropolitan Police officers guarding Downing Street at the times of the 13 parties alleged to have taken place there between May 2020 and April 2021.

Strangely, I have been able to find no information on the Metropolitan Police website (so far) to indicate that Professional Standards is indeed Basit Javid’s responsibility. Odd, that. Other organisations make the responsibilities of their senior staff abundantly clear.

(UPDATE: Many thanks to Cathy – @NarcAware – on Twitter for providing this –

– which seems to clear up the matter.)

Of course we know already that Met Commissioner Cressida Dick was at Balliol College, Oxford, around the same time as Boris johnson.

There really does seem to be an interconnected network of people in the highest positions of power in the UK. Whether it really has led to the kind of corruption described in the image at the top of this article or not, the impression it gives could hardly be worse.

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If cleaners lodged complaint after #DowningStreetParty, why was it treated as such a surprise?

Sue Gray: she’s the investigator appointed by Boris Johnson. But shouldn’t she actually be investigatED?

After a lockdown-busting drinks party in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020, the cleaners lodged a complaint about the state in which it had been left, it has been revealed.

Worse: according to the iNews report, it is apparently not clear which May 2020 party they were complaining about.

We know there were booze-ups on May 15 and 20 that year. Who knows what other events took place?

With parties known to have been taking place between May 2020 and April 2021 at least – for all we know, they were happening right up until the first revelation last month – it seems entirely possible that the complaint relates to a previously-unreported event.

source told the paper No 10 staff had been unhappy with the state the garden was left in.

“They’d had to clean up the morning after,” the source said. “They weren’t happy.”

But the insider did caution that this may have been after a different social event.

Nothing was said about it in public at the time – even though the entire country was in a lockdown that separated families from their relatives as they died of Covid-19, as has been reported at great length since the revelations started coming out last month.

It seems to This Writer that questions should be asked about why this information – which is important to our understanding of the way the UK is being run – was withheld from the public.

Were these cleaners pressurised to keep quiet about it?

Were there moves within the Downing Street administration to hush it up?

Considering the revelation earlier this week that staff there have been told to erase details of Downing Street parties from their mobile phones – a criminal offence – this seems likely.

It would suggest – strongly – that the people running Downing Street need to be part of Sue Gray’s investigation.

But Sue Gray is a civil servant and one of the people running Downing Street. Doesn’t this show that she is compromised and should investigated, rather than the investigator?

Source: Downing Street party: No10 cleaners lodged a complaint over state of garden after ‘BYOB’ party

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Number of #DowningStreetParties being investigated hits unlucky 13 for #BorisJohnson

Boris Johnson: his self-inflicted troubles are piling up.

The revelations are coming out thick and fast now, and all Boris Johnson can do now is react with an apology.

It’s the worst possible situation for him because he doesn’t know what’s coming next and cannot prepare; he can only take the rap and hope the public get outrage fatigue.

And we’re not getting tired of being angry at all.

The latest revelation is that the former head of the civil service Covid taskforce – the team responsible for drawing up Covid restrictions – held a leaving party during lockdown in 2020.

Kate Josephs, now chief executive of Sheffield City Council, has tweeted a statement in which she says she had drinks with colleagues on the evening of 17 December.

Here it is:

It does seem odd that she has decided to make this statement unilaterally.

Perhaps she feared the consequences if it came to light from another source.

While it doesn’t seem to involve Boris Johnson directly, it is still hugely damaging to his administration because it means the person who designed the lockdown restrictions that the rest of us had to observe or face the wrath of the law was happy to break them herself.

The implication is that this assumption runs across Johnson’s government; they all thought they could do what they liked.

That’s the kind of attitude that only spreads from the top downward.

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Data watchdog warns government staff against clearing phones of #DowningStreetParties information

Who has been using digital information systems like the internet or the phone lines to order the deletion of messages referring to the alleged lockdow-busting Downing Street parties? Here’s an artist’s impression of one possible suspect.

After This Site and others raised concerns that Downing Street staff were being ordered to remove information they had received about lockdown-breaking parties, the information watchdog has barked.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has warned staff that removing such messages could be a criminal offence:

“Relevant information that exists in the private correspondence channels of public authorities should be available and included in responses to information requests received.

“Erasing, destroying or concealing information within scope of a Freedom of Information request, with the intention of preventing its disclosure is a criminal offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act.”

As it is, it seems an investigation may be launched into who gave the order to erase the information.

In fact, it seems likely that any removal of the information from individual phones will not wipe it out of existence but will merely criminalise the owner of the phone for trying to do so.

Messages sent using services such as WhatsApp are stored on a cloud server – not the recipient’s device(s) – and may be recovered by the authorities under circumstances including a legal investigation.

This Writer is not sure whether the same is true of SMS messaging, although I am sure that experts are able to recover information that has been removed by users who pressed the “delete” button but have not deep-cleaned the storage system on which the message had been placed.

I shall be keen to hear if anybody has received the alleged order to erase data, if they acted on it, and if they will be prosecuted for it. I also want to know who send this alleged order and what will happen to them.

Ultimately, we need to know who authorised this alleged message in the first place. And what penalty will they face?

Source: No. 10 Staff Clearing Phones Before Party Inquiry May Be Crime: ICO

Media reporters have DEFINITELY been hiding evidence of #DowningStreetParties. And what else?

Slack by name: if he was a proper reporter, James Slack would have published a story about the Downing Street parties as soon as he went back to work at The Sun. He didn’t – for reasons that, while obvious, are unacceptable.

Well, there it is. There can’t be any doubt that the media have been suppressing evidence of the lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street now, because one of them was for the current deputy editor-in-chief of The Sun – who attended it.

James Slack’s first duty as a news reporter would have been to report that the prime minister was allowing such parties to take place, in contempt of the rules that he had imposed on everybody else.

Reporters have a duty to act in the public interest.

He didn’t – for perfectly understandable but entirely unacceptable reasons: he was at the party on the night of April 16-17, 2021 (it was his leaving party), and he was at the party of May 15 the year before (he appears in the photograph that has been released to the press.

Considering the networks of contacts that all political reporters in Westminster must have, it seems highly unlikely to This Writer that others were kept unaware of it. I doubt the party organisers would have been able to do so and, to be honest, I think it is highly likely that they were invited – especially to an event for somebody who is an industry colleague.

So people like Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston should be asked where they were that night, too. Peston in particular, because of course he worked with Allegra Stratton, the former Downing Street press secretary who resigned after a video clip was publicised showing her laughing about an alleged party there on December 18, 2020.

And we, the public, need to examine their reports now with extreme scepticism.

Slack himself joins Johnson as another two-faced liar who has only apologised because his transgression has been revealed to us. If it had not, then he would have merrily kept it hidden for the rest of his career. Instead, he tells us: “This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.” Weasel words.

The other party was for someone described as one of Johnson’s personal photographers. It is alleged that staff were sent out to a nearby shop carrying a suitcase, and brought it back filled with bottles of wine.

The party in the Downing Street basement, with a laptop computer blaring out music from atop a photocopier, is said to have linked up with the event for Slack, continuing until well after midnight.

At the time, England was under “Step Two” restrictions, meaning that people were banned from socialising indoors with those from other households. Indoor gatherings and gatherings of more than six people outdoors were unlawful, unless “reasonably necessary for work”. There were also fixed penalty notices of up to £10,000 for individuals organising unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people.

This information has been released to us now because somebody has decided it is to their advantage. I would suggest that this person would be somebody in the Conservative government who sees an opportunity to grab power from Johnson.

We certainly should not believe that anybody is innocent of such machinations if they speak up in support of Johnson now; it is entirely possible for a person to be supportive in public while stabbing somebody in the back privately.

The current revelations are doubly offensive to the Queen, of course. Firstly, there is the clear offence that two events, in which people partied, laughed and joked in close contact with each other, took place at a time of national mourning, the day before she had to sit alone at the socially-distanced funeral of her husband of 73 years.

Secondly, though, this is the second time prime minister Boris Johnson has made a fool of her; the first was when he persuaded her to prorogue Parliament on the basis of a lie he told so he could bypass an obstacle to his (now revealed to be entirely useless) Brexit deal.

If she doesn’t absolutely hate Johnson by now, she must be superhuman indeed.

It is said that Johnson was not at the parties of April 2021 – but you’d have to be a fool to think he wasn’t aware of them, after all the others.

Today’s revelations bring the current total number of parties being investigated by civil servant Sue Gray – who is, let’s remember, an employee of Boris Johnson and not an independent investigator at all – to 12.

One has to question whether there is another strategy here – to leak new information about parties out at intervals, so Ms Gray’s investigation can never be concluded.

To those of us watching from outside, it’s beginning to seem as though Downing Street was a party venue from the moment the first lockdown began, right up to last Christmas, at the very least.

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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