Category Archives: Government

Damning: Johnson lied to Parliament about party attendance and police failed to fine him

How will the Met Police justify this? Boris Johnson is pictured toasting departing Downing Street comms chief Lee Cain at a leaving party on November 13, 2020, that the prime minister told Parliament he never attended.

Days after police decided not to fine Boris Johnson again for attending illegal Downing Street parties, we see that it is all a lie.

Johnson did attend at least one party beyond the birthday event in 2020 for which he was fined.

It was during a time of full lockdown in England – November 13, 2020 – when only two people from different households were allowed to mix indoors.

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.”

But images published by ITV News show at least eight people in a Downing Street room, meaning at least nine were there including the photographer. They were from many different households.

We can clearly see a table covered with bottles of substances including Champagne or Cava, wine and gin, and party cups – one of which is being hefted by Johnson as he gives what is clearly a party speech.

Excuses that this was a “works do” won’t wash, because a “works do” is still a party – and in any case, one person who attended this event to mark the departure of comms chief Lee Cain was fined for it.

Claims that Johnson was “just passing through” because his red box is visible, discarded nearby, are unconvincing because we have already heard that Johnson pays very little attention to the contents of his red boxes, which have been seen unattended outside his Downing Street flat (a blatant security risk) while the prime minister himself receives briefings on their contents via WhatsApp.

Perhaps that particular box was actually in the possession of one of the other people at the party, who had either already written a briefing for their lazy party-boy boss or was going to do it later.

So Johnson quite clearly and categorically lied to Parliament about his attendance at this party. Why haven’t the police fined him, then?

This Site has already discussed suggestions from a solicitor that Met officers may have been influenced by deference for Johnson’s position as prime minister, in contradiction of the requirement that everybody must be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

The same expert also suggested that Johnson had been able to afford to get “lawyered up” with expensive representatives whose services were beyond the means of the lower-paid civil servants who could not evade fixed penalty notices – another indication of preferential treatment.

So Metropolitan Police investigators have serious questions to answer.

The Met has “declined to explain” why Johnson was not fined for attending a party when somebody else was – indicating a guilty conscience, perhaps?

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has already been urged to investigate – by the Liberal Democrats (presumably Labour leader Keir Starmer has been asleep at the wheel again).

But the request is unlikely to be honoured because the IOPC usually investigates only the most serious cases, such as those involving a death or serious injury following contact with the police, and complaints can only be made by someone who has directly witnessed an incident or is directly affected by it.

Nevertheless, it seems the police will be forced to explain themselves as legal action is being initiated by others including the Good Law Project.

This Writer wonders if Sue Gray is frantically re-writing her report, that is due to be released to the public tomorrow (May 25), according to some sources.

Our predominantly right-wing media are telling us that Johnson is in no danger of being removed by his own Conservative MPs.

It seems they are hoping that public outrage at this flagrant abuse of his government’s own rules by the prime minister who announced them to the public will have peaked.

But, being Tories, they probably aren’t counting the human cost of Covid-19 and the effect this has had. Johnson was partying with his colleagues at a time when people were dying alone because he had ordered that their relatives and friends were not allowed to be with them at the end.

That causes the kind of pain that doesn’t go away when it is politically expedient.

And of course this is new evidence for the Commons Privileges Committee, that will investigate whether Johnson lied to Parliament about attending parties.

If he did, then the rules will demand his resignation. And this evidence shows – in no uncertain terms – that he did lie.

If he had any integrity at all he would resign now and save us all the annoyance of waiting for it. But his past behaviour tells us that he doesn’t, so he won’t.

Photographs cast doubt on Boris Johnson’s claims he was unaware of rule-breaking. | ITV National News

Source: Exclusive: Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured drinking at Downing Street party during lockdown | ITV News

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By-elections: For a country suffering Long Tory disease under Boris Johnson, Change Is Good

Boris Johnson: his MPs may have given up on kicking him out but it seems the rest of us all think it’s time for him to go.

Boris Johnson is facing a double-defeat more deadly to his premiership than Partygate as the public turns against him in two by-elections.

People in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, together with Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, seem certain to turn against the Tories over the cost-of-living catastrophe, at the ballot box next month.

At a focus group in Wakefield, the problem was clearly identified as Boris Johnson. Only one voter said they would stick with the Tories; the others vowed to support Labour or abstain from voting altogether.

The vitriol directed at Johnson over Partygate was real. “Can I call him a wanker?” asked Keith.

Rishi Sunak’s star had definitely fallen too. “They’re totally out of touch, particularly those two, born with silver spoons in their mouth,” said Janet, who is on Universal Credit for the first time in her life.

Luke Tryl, director of More In Common, said: “For most, the biggest problem with Johnson and Sunak is that they were seen to be totally out of touch and unable to understand the struggles of people’s everyday lives. This is a telling reversal from last summer and beyond when in similar groups you’d hear people using phrases like ‘Our Boris’ and the sense he was one of them.”

The people mentioned in the source article don’t show any real interest or enthusiasm in Keir Starmer’s Labour – they just want a change from a Tory government that has lost ideas and appeal over its 12 years in office: Long Tory disease.

Tom added: “Change is good.”

How ironic. Johnson used the same line when he had to replace a policy chief who had spoken unwisely about Starmer.

The PM was quoting the Lion King movie, seemingly oblivious to the film’s plot of a duplicitous ruler being found out eventually.

It seems Johnson has been found out. And with no attempt being made to halt the cost-of-living crisis, it seems he may soon be voted out.

Source: Tory MPs may still be backing Boris Johnson, but focus groups are showing that voters are done with the PM

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Chaotic scenes at Education Department as civil servants outnumber desks

Jacob Rees-Mogg, making a gesture that well defines him.

Is this Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comeuppance after he went around leaving nasty notes on empty civil service desks, for them to see after they returned from home working?

In notes left for civil servants, he wrote: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”

Nadhim Zahawi took Rees-Mogg’s demand for a return to the office seriously, and told officials at the Department for Education to “immediately” return to “pre-Covid working” after an audit found that the DfE had the lowest attendance of any Government department, at a quarter capacity.

Well, unless pre-Covid working took place in corridors and canteens, he didn’t get his wish!

It turns out that, before the pandemic, the DfE only had an occupancy rate of 60 to 70 per cent because of the department’s flexible working policy.

And changes to the department’s estate, such as giving up space at the DfE’s London headquarters, has meant there are fewer desks than previously – 4,200 to accommodate 8,009 staff.

So after the department’s top civil servant, permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood, was joined by ministers to tell officials to work 80 per cent of their week in the office, chaos ensued:

Civil servants at the Department for Education have been forced to work in corridors and canteens.

Whole teams have been turned away from some offices because of overcrowding.

According to Schools Week, staff were sent home from the department’s Sheffield office after a mass return earlier this month, despite some staff already working from the canteen.

Online meetings were also forced to take place with staff perched on the end of shared seating because meeting rooms were full.

The Tories have insisted that having more people than desks was the practice at the department.

Were they saying that chaos is supposed to be the practice at the Department for Education and that it was the intended result of Rees-Mogg’s interference. How revealing!

And isn’t it curious that, while DfE staff – and presumably other civil servants – scrabble for desk space, another government department looks set to spend £20 million on a luxury townhouse for a single, privileged representative – so she can hold lavish parties?

Source: Department for Education descends into chaos as civil servants can’t find desks after returning to office

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Why is the Foreign Office buying £20m New York townhouse to subsidise art dealer’s court case?

Liz Truss: she’s not a serious politician. Look at that vapid grin and you’ll understand exactly why she’s spaffing away public money like it was newly-ensewaged water.

While the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is apparently planning to spend £20 million buying a luxury New York townhouse so the UK’s UN representative can have big parties.

Not only that, but the money would be paid to an art dealer who is currently facing trial for a £500 million tax fraud in France.

Should the UK’s government really be subsidising a possible fraudster’s court representation? And does the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations really need a massively expensive building, just so she can host lavish parties?

The memo on the proposed Manhattan purchase argues that ‘the Sutton Square townhouse would provide a high-quality entertainment space close to the UK mission to the UN [and] comfortable accommodation for VIPs’.

The 9,600 sq ft Manhattan townhouse, which has views over the East River, would be used mainly by Dame Barbara Janet Woodward, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Described by the property agents as ‘a grand and iconic residence for the new gilded age’, Dame Barbara… would enjoy the use of a huge kitchen, sauna-like showers, parquet de Versailles wood floors and a filigreed spiral staircase.

The documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday make the argument that despite already owning three residences in New York, in addition to the embassy and ambassador’s house in Washington, the new property is required to help the UK to pursue ‘soft power’ diplomacy through drinks and canapes.

These things are not good for the UK’s diplomats. Apparently there was a huge row when it was revealed in 2020 that Antonia Romeo, now Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, had been investigated over allegations that she had ‘terrorised’ staff who criticised her extravagant lifestyle and reportedly lavish spending when she was Britain’s Consul General in New York.

But the good news is that, as the building is in a “highly desirable” area of New York, it will likely hold or increase its value in the long term. So it’s a good investment. But how will the people of the UK benefit from this extravagant spending.

Ultimate authority over the deal will lie with airheaded Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who doesn’t seem to understand that spaffing our money – yours and mine, not hers – on things that aren’t vital for the nation is offensive to the people of the UK.

She’s also clueless about the new policy of cutting the number of civil servants in the Foreign Office by 900.

Apparently she’s happy to throw away “people whose skills we no longer need” (charming!) but then wants to take on enough new personnel to create a net increase of 1,000.

It would be okay if we knew that more than 1,000 jobs will be going to people who really need them – but you know Truss is just going to dish them out to more Tory cronies. I await proof that my assertion is false.

It seems clear that, not only is Truss a danger to the safety of the UK, with her sabre-rattling comments about Russia – but she can’t be trusted with money either.

Source: Liz Truss faces row over purchase of £20m New York ‘partyhouse’

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Cost-of-living crisis: Tories demand clampdown on people who steal to eat

Tory Kit Malthouse: his party has inflicted poverty on millions and now he is determined that if anybody is driven to steal food, just so they can eat, police should prosecute them with the full force of the law rather than exercise their discretion to deliver justice.

The Tory government has opened up a rift with the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary over people who steal to eat because of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The impact of poverty, and the impact of lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime. There’s no two ways about that,” Andy Cooke, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said.

He said officers should use their “discretion” when deciding whether to prosecute people who steal in order to eat: “What they’ve got to bear in mind is what is the best thing for the community, and that individual, in the way they deal with those issues.”

But he insisted he was not advocating an amnesty for people who commit crimes of poverty, nor “giving a carte blanche for people to go out shoplifting”. Instead, he advised officers to make sure such matters of law enforcement are “dealt with in the best way possible”.

The Guardian found at least one police representative who agreed with this approach:

One chief constable whose area includes pockets of poverty agreed with Cooke. “There is a difference between a first-time offender who steals bread, cheese or milk to eat, and someone stealing to feed an addiction,” they said. “Police are there to help people in extreme need, that’s why we joined. We can signpost them to a food bank or help like that.”

But the Tory government takes a different view – Policing Minister Kit Malthouse wants to crack down hard on the people his party’s policies have driven into poverty.

On Thursday’s (May 19) morning interview round, he told LBC: “I wrote to chief constables just a year or so ago saying they should not be ignoring those seemingly small crimes.

“We first of all believe the law should be blind and police officers should operate without fear or favour in prosecution of the law.”

What did you expect? Tory policy has been to privatise the prison service, remember.

Perhaps they want to fill those prisons for their private business cronies.

And one more thing:

Isn’t it hypocritical for the Tories to want harsh action against people suffering as a result of their policies – but think it is hardly worth mentioning when their own leader ignores their policies in order to have a big party?

Source: Officers should use discretion over stealing to eat, says police watchdog | Police | The Guardian

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Dorries contradicts herself – badly – over sale of Channel 4

Not making sense: Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has been telling us that Channel 4 must be sold because it is not making enough in advertising revenue – but it is in fact making record profits. Confronted with that fact, she said that means now is a good time to sell it. So it IS all about making money, then!

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has come badly unstuck on her reasons for selling Channel 4.

Giving evidence to the Commons Culture Committee on Thursday (May 19), she said Channel 4 is dependent on just one stream of revenue – advertising – but income is falling as advertisers have more choice. She claimed Netflix would be a better option.

And the government cannot allow Channel 4 to borrow to invest, because the taxpayer would be liable for those debts, she said. This actually does make sense of one of the restrictions on the channel’s funding.

But later in the session, the SNP’s John Nicolson pointed out that Channel 4 is currently making record profits – belying what Dorries has been saying about advertising revenue.

Her response?

“That means it would be a good time to sell.”

This is a woman who – like the character Eccles in The Goon Show – refuses to be defeated by logic.

If someone tried to make her understand how gravity works, we may reasonably expect her to say – like Eccles did – that she stays on the ground because she lives there.

What a goon.

And her answer reveals that this sale is not about what’s best for Channel 4.

It’s about making fast money for a spendthrift government.

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Priti Patel doesn’t seem to know what BDS is about. Is that why she wants to ban it?

Smug supporter of apartheid: this was the look on Priti Patel’s face when she left Downing Street in November 2017, having been forced to resign from Theresa May’s Cabinet for trying to run her own foreign policy, apparently as an asset of Israel. Now she wants to outlaw the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in another overt display of support for that country’s persecution of Palestinians.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel is “racist and anti-Semitic”, according to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel who seems not to understand what it is about.

“Holding the Jewish community collectively responsible for what happens in the Middle East by my definition is racist,” Patel said.

But that is not what BDS does. It holds Israel responsible for the actions of its government against the people of Palestine.

Israel is not “the Jewish community” and Palestine is not “what happens in the Middle East” – unless the person suggesting it is deliberately trying to blur the issues, or doesn’t understand them.

This Writer is not going to put forward an opinion on which of those best sums up Patel’s mindset.

But I will point out that she was ordered to resign from Theresa May’s Cabinet after she had been exposed as trying to run her own foreign policy, independent of the UK’s, favouring Israel.

To quote the Another Angry Voice article of the time that best sums up her behaviour,

Priti Patel decided to completely ignore the ministerial code of conduct by holding a number of political meetings in Israel without informing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, without informing the UK embassy in Israel, and without informing the Prime Minister.

She then dug herself deeper into her hole when she was caught by lying that the Foreign Office had known about her meetings at the time, and ‘forgetting’ to mention the most significant meeting of all that she had with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

She … only admitted this stuff because she got caught, and that it would all still be secret if she hadn’t been busted.

For Priti Patel to have arranged all these meetings in secret, it seems highly likely that she would have used her own communications devices to make the arrangements, rather than a FCO approved device. An obvious security risk.

The next thing to note is that all FCO approved meetings require security and sweeping for bugs. Presumably none of that happened, which is another security risk.

The next problem is that no proper records were kept of the meetings, or what was discussed in the meetings, which opens Patel up to suspicions that she could have subjected to blackmail or bribery, especially if she then starts behaving in the interest of the foreign state.

Which brings us to Patel’s conduct upon her return to the UK: She quickly started making inquiries into whether part of the UK Foreign Aid budget could be diverted in order to fund the Israeli military in the occupied Golan Heights (a policy that would have been in Israel’s interests, and that a significant percentage of British people would have been horrified by).

Additionally she told nobody that she was making these inquiries about using the foreign aid budget to fund the Israeli military as a result of her secretive meetings in Israel.

This request makes it seem that Patel was behaving like an asset of the Israeli state, working on their behalf as an operative within the UK government.

Doesn’t that seem an accurate description of Patel’s activities now – “behaving like an asset of the Israeli state, working on their behalf as an operative within the UK government”?

Source: ‘BDS movement is antisemitic,’ British Home Secretary says

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No more Partygate fines for Johnson – if we trust Downing Street – but what will Sue Gray say?

Sue Gray: all eyes are turning to her, now she is at liberty to publish her full – and probably damning – report on Boris Johnson and the illegal Downing Street parties he allowed to happen under his nose.

The prime minister’s office at Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson will not receive a second fine for taking part in illegal parties there during the Covid-19 lockdowns that he himself had imposed.

With the police refusing to name anybody they have fined, we are being asked to take the word of people who are themselves likely to have been fined for taking part in the parties (126 people have) and who may have been told to protect their boss.

But whether or not you believe the people who initially spent more than a year hiding the fact that these parties took place at all, the closure of the Metropolitan Police inquiry means that Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray may at last release her own full report on the scandal.

This could be far more damning to Johnson than the police investigation because it may include her verdict on whether he lied to his fellow MPs about whether the parties took place and about his own participation in them.

Lying to Parliament is a grave offence under the Ministerial Code, for which it is entirely possible that Johnson may not only lose his job as prime minister but be expelled from the House of Commons altogether.

Of course, ultimate authority for punishing offences against the Code lies with – guess who? – the prime minister but in a situation in which the PM himself is accused, it seems logical that alternative arrangements will be made to judge the matter.

And MPs have already arranged their own inquiry. A motion for the Commons Privileges Committee to do so was passed “on the nod” after attempts by the Tory leadership to prevent their backbenchers from voting for it were defeated.

We have already been told that the Gray report is so excoriating of Johnson that it may end his premiership:

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.

According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister. There’s an immense amount of pressure on her – her report could be enough to end him.” No 10 declined to comment.

According to the i newspaper, in a report last month, Tory rebels have been organising to oust Johnson and the now-four-month reprieve Johnson enjoyed as a result of the police investigation merely allowed them to organise themselves.

Even though we have been told he has not received any more fines, these backbenchers were also watching the results of the local elections at the beginning of the month – in which the Conservatives took a drubbing.

Remember: these were council seats and devolved Parliament places where the Labour Party had enjoyed the so-called “Corbyn bounce” in 2018, and where the Tories may have reasonably expected to make gains this time. Instead both they and Labour lost out to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Ms Gray is expected to release her report next week – and then the sparks may really fly.

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Johnson tries to take credit for Crossrail – but he won’t railroad us

Lying Boris Johnson has been caught being dishonest again – this time about the new Elizabeth Line in London, formerly known as Crossrail.

In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (May 18), Johnson attacked his opponents in the Labour Party, saying:

“It was fantastic to see Her Majesty the Queen open Crossrail yesterday…Who was the Mayor of London when Crossrail was first started to be built, and who was the Prime Minister who completed it?

“We get the big things done. And that’s why there’s never been a Labour government who’s left office with unemployment lower than when they began.”

He was being extremely economical with the truth, as usual.

Crossrail was approved under a Labour government in 2007. Work did indeed start on it around a year into Johnson’s first term as London Mayor, in 2009 – but that was still under a Labour government.

And Westminster Labour councillor David Boothroyd had something to say about that. He tweeted: “The Mayor of London who got the Crossrail scheme going was [Labour’s] Ken Livingstone.

“The Mayor of London who forgot about Crossrail and led it into delay was Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London who got Crossrail delivered was Sadiq Khan.”

It is true that the central stretch was due to open in 2018 but was delayed, and costs soared from a predicted £14.8 billion to nearly £19 billion.

A spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan was more diplomatic: “Crossrail got the green light under the previous government and first started to be built back in 2009. Since then the project has been supported by successive governments, Mayors and businesses in our city, with over two-thirds of the budget coming from London government and London’s businesses.

“The completion of the Elizabeth Line shows the benefit of politicians working together and taking long-term decisions when it comes to crucial infrastructure projects that will have a positive impact across the whole country for many decades to come.”

Johnson made a blatant factual error when he said the new rail line had already delivered 72,000 jobs. In fact, it will be able to transport 72,000 people per hour.

Possibly worse than all of the above is the fact that Johnson was trying to use the new Elizabeth line to justify, in some way, the huge costs his government has forced onto ordinary people – pricing a dialysis user, in his own words, “out of existence“.

In fairness, he had requested details of the case but it was not reasonable to make a bald – and false – claim about the economy and the Elizabeth Line.

It demonstrates what a despicable opportunist Johnson is.

Source: Elizabeth line: Boris Johnson mocked for claiming credit for Crossrail despite law passing under Labour

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Priti Patel is refusing to pay police enough to do their job & then demanding power to criticise them for it

Here’s the contradictory nature of Tory policy exposed in all its grubby grimness:

Priti Patel has been challenged to explain whether she could “survive” on the salaries she pays to local police officers – and ran away from answering.

Meanwhile, she is demanding the right to interfere in local policing matters – possibly criticising officers for failing to do work she does not pay them enough to manage.

According to Nation.Cymru,

Detective Constable Vicky Knight, a single mother who had worked in policing for more than two decades, asked Priti Patel if she would be able to “survive” on £1,200 or £1,400 a month.

Describing how she is paid “a couple of hundred pounds a month more than the workers in McDonald’s flipping burgers” and less than her “local manager at Lidl”, Ms Knight told how ahead of her most recent pay day she had to borrow £40 from her mother so she could put fuel in her car and buy food for her son’s school lunches “because I had no money left at the end of the month”.

“I went to see an accountant and the advice was leave the police, work for 22 hours a week and claim benefits and you will be better off. How can that be right?”

Patel did not answer the question; we don’t know whether she thinks she could survive on the pay she tells police officers to accept.

But we do know delegates at the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales groaned when she whined that their organisation had not been “at the table” for pay negotiations; it is currently in dispute with her because she has imposed a pay freeze for officers and there were, therefore, no negotiations to be done.

While she is depriving police of the salaries they need in order to be able to do their jobs, it seems Patel is demanding the right to criticise them for any failures.

In a row with Police and Crime Commissioners, she is planning a unilateral revision of rules that define where policing responsibilities lie, in order to grant herself more power to interfere in local services.

She wants to take back power to demand answers from chief constables on local policing matters – and ability that was given to commissioners a decade ago when their role was created.

Obviously the ability to demand answers also provides an implied ability to criticise police services for failings – even though any failures may be because she has not provided the resources to do the job.

According to The Guardian,

The proposed protocol says: “We propose to lower the threshold for home secretary intervention in appropriate circumstances. This would equip the home secretary to intervene earlier as required, thus reducing the risk of failing to deliver effective policing.”

Apparently this is a reflection of a policy adopted by Patel since she became Home Secretary, called “lean in”. Perhaps it would more accurately be phrased as “lean on“.

Another example of this policy would appear to be her demand that chief constables act “in a politically neutral manner”, which has been added to the previous stricture that they must be impartial.

This would restrict them from commenting on public policy that they believe may affect crime fighting – such as the effects of austerity. Nor would they be allowed to speak out publicly on issues of political dispute like tougher sentences or opposing the decriminalisation of cannabis, which is supported by some frontline politicians.

In their response to Patel’s proposals, commissioners said she would need to seek an Act of Parliament to impose them as they are beyond her statutory powers at the moment – “ultra vires”:

“Creation of new powers of strategic oversight can only be achieved through primary legislation and must be subject to the full scrutiny that is required of primary legislation.”

So we see a hardline Home Secretary, attempting to dictate the behaviour of local police forces while denying them the resources to their job.

How ironic that she is currently being restricted with rules imposed by her own Tory forerunners.

Source: Home Secretary confronted by ‘desperately struggling’ North Wales Constable over low pay

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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