Category Archives: Partygate

Tory MP Miriam Cates probed by standards watchdog over Partygate allegations

Miriam Cates: was she another Tory who was partying when she should have been self-isolating?

Another Tory right-winger is in trouble because she apparently thought the rules didn’t apply to her. Oh dear…

Tory MP Miriam Cates has been placed under investigation by the Commons standards watchdog for causing “significant damage” to Parliament’s reputation.

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Reports have emerged that the probe relates to a lockdown drinks party in December 2020, which Ms Cates is said to have attended. According to the Daily Mail, Ms Cates was among the guests at a birthday bash for Tory peer Baroness Jenkin and fellow backbencher Virginia Crosbie.

Ms Cates is one of eight MPs currently being investigated by the Standards Commissioner, all Tories or former Tories. These include Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, Sir Bernard Jenkin and Virginia Crosbie, who are believed to be under investigation for allegedly attending the birthday. The Metropolitan Police closed its probe into the same event earlier this month, with no action taken against any individuals.

Ms Cates, who was elected as MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in 2019, co-founded the right-wing New Conservatives group alongside fellow backbencher Danny Kruger. The group has called for tax cuts, significant cuts to immigration and withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: Tory MP Miriam Cates faces probe by standards watchdog amid Partygate claims – Mirror Online


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Peer accused of trying to interfere with Partygate inquiry resigns. What about the others?

Zac Goldsmith: apparently he owes his peerage to Boris Johnson.

There’s almost as much murk in this as in a glass of drinking water from Thames Water.*

Lord Zac Goldsmith has resigned from his job as an environment minister, just one day after he was named by the House of Commons Privileges Committee as having tried to interfere with its determination on Boris Johnson and Partygate.

But his reason for resigning, if you read the article, is the Tory government’s failure to tackle climate change properly. He says prime minister Rishi Sunak is “simply uninterested” in the issue.

(And he has repeated this assertion – strenuously – after Sunak claimed the resignation came after he had asked Goldsmith to apologise for the apparent interference. He reckons his resignation had been coming for a long time – but that raises one obvious question: why submit it the day after being accused by the Privileges Committee if that had nothing to do with it?)

But who cares about Goldsmith? He’s yesterday’s man now.

What matters is, nine other MPs and peers have also been accused by the Privileges Committee:

The Privileges Committee has published the evidence on which it has based its claim:

Given all of the above, one has only one question left to ask:

What are the other nine named MPs and peers going to do?

*Joke. I don’t honestly think the quality of Thames Water’s product is quite so bad… yet.


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The human butterbean, the tribunal magnet and the emotional support turbot

Facepalm: “futile, complacent, glistening human butterbean” David Cameron reckons gay marriage is his most successful policy. It was a Liberal Democrat policy forced on him by the Coalition agreement.

I thought Russ Jones had stopped doing The Week In Tory (TWIT). What a mistake to make!

Here’s the latest instalment, for those of you who don’t see it regularly, thought it had stopped, or never knew about it in the first place. And believe me, this is one of the only ways living in the UK under the Tories is going to make you laugh:


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What did we learn from the big vote on Boris?

Theresa May: she used the Partygate Inquiry debate to lay into not just Boris Johnson, but current prime minister Rishi Sunak as well.

The big takeout from yesterday’s (Monday, June 18, 2023) vote on the Partygate report is that Rishi Sunak is a weaker leader than anyone thought he was.

As prime minister, it was his duty to support the report because it represents a duty of Parliament, duly done.

But he didn’t even bother to turn up, let alone vote in support of the Privileges Committee’s damning indictment of Boris Johnson’s Partygate lies – most probably because he didn’t want to anger Johnson’s remaining supporters.

Former prime minister Theresa May is widely believed to have criticised Sunak’s spinelessness in her speech:

The implication is that Sunak’s own claim to be restoring the integrity of the government were just a lot of hot air if he could not even bring himself to support a report giving just one example of how that integrity had been lost.

And how many supporters did Johnson have?

Some might say only seven – the Tory MPs who actually voted against the report’s findings. They were Desmond Swayne, Joy Morrisey, Karl McCartney, Adam Holloway, Heather Wheeler, Nick Fletcher and Bill Cash.

Already some net-based wags have been having fun at their – and Johnson’s – expense:

Some might say Johnson’s support base actually totalled 232 – as 225 Tories either abstained or stayed away altogether, like Sunak. But it is just as easy to say they were all cowards like Sunak.

We do know that 118 Tories voted to support the report and its one remaining recommendation – that Johnson be denied a “former member’s pass” to parts of the Parliamentary estate, essentially banishing him from the Palace of Westminster.

In all, 354 MPs voted to support the report – 54 per cent of the total number of MPs.

Wild claims that the Partygate Inquiry was somehow rigged, or carried out improperly, must now be laid to rest because Parliament has spoken and its voice is sovereign.

Johnson did lie, repeatedly and knowingly, and that’s all there is to it.

Now it seems likely the focus will alter, most likely moving on to examine Johnson’s resignation honours list and whether it has any validity, considering the prime minister who wrote it now stands disgraced and several of the people named in it are also facing allegations about their own behaviour.

Johnson himself may also linger in public life for some time to come – not least because his testimony to the Covid-19 Inquiry has yet to become public – and is already controversial.


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Tories to vote on Boris Johnson Partygate report as outrage rises over Partygate video

Johnson’s attitude: satirists created this image in 2021 – and now we find that it was more or less accurate. The video of a lockdown-busting party demonstrates the first two elements, and the responses of Tories to criticism of it demonstrates the third. The people are incandescent with fury at this high-handed ‘one rule for you, another for us’ attitude, and are baying for Boris Johnson’s blood.

Another pal of Boris Johnson has been identified in the lockdown-busting party video that became public knowledge over the weekend:

She joins other identified Tories including Shaun Bailey (made a peer in Johnson’s honours) and Ben Mallet (given an OBE in Johnson’s honours). Bailey has tried to dismiss the matter out-of-hand – indicating that this entitled Tory twit doesn’t understand that he has absolutely no control over the news agenda and if the public is outraged, he’ll have to put up with it:

Elsewhere, questions have arisen over another video clip, in which Jacob Rees-Mogg (knighted in Johnson’s honours list) said a Christmas party that broke Covid-19 lockdown rules would not be investigated by police. Why was he so sure?

Rees-Mogg has apparently claimed “officials” told him to say the rules had been followed at all times.

It’s not looking good, is it?

There are other problems with Johnson’s honours list…

Add it all up and you get comments like this from Private Eye‘s Ian Hislop:

Calls for Johnson’s honours list to be rejected in toto have proliferated, but spineless prime minister Rishi Sunak has run away from the responsibility for dealing with this controversy dumped on his doorstep by his forerunner.

Sunak has also run like a rabbit from the responsibility of making his position clear on how his Tory MPs should vote on the recommendation of the Partygate Inquiry.

While all this is going on, it seems other matters may be going unnoticed.

For example:

Yes indeed.

What happened to all that PPE that Michelle Mone got the Tory government to buy, only to find it couldn’t be used?


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Partygate video is just more evidence that Boris Johnson’s honours list should be binned

Shaun Bailey: at the time of his (failed) London Mayoral campaign he was labelled the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Why should he be permitted to join the House of Lords after that, and after we found out a lockdown-busting party was held for him while we were all following his government’s rules?

I’m only writing about this to get it out of the way.

The appropriate time for this video to have become public knowledge was December 15, 2020 – the day after it was shot.

Now it is just a distraction from current misuses of power by the Conservatives in government – and their Opposition counterparts. You’ll have to read other articles on This Site for details of those, though.

Here’s the video to which I refer, which has been obtained and released by the Mirror:

Then-London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, for whom the party was thrown, has been ennobled in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list and will now sit in the House of Lords, having failed to be elected into any position of power democratically. This is cronyism – he simply has not done anything to deserve it.

And Ben Mallet, Bailey’s campaign manager who appears in the clip wearing white braces with red patterning, was given an OBE as a reward for his failure. He’s now running a campaign for Moz Hossain, who wants to be the Conservative candidate in next year’s London Mayoral election.

Earlier on December 14, 2020, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock had given a speech at a Covid-19-related press conference, saying social distancing was the way to stop the disease from spreading:

You can read the speech and see a full video of it here, on the government’s website.

Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove, reacting to the video clip on Sky‘s Sophie Ridge show, has apologised for it (although This Writer isn’t clear whether he’s sorry that the event happened or that the clip has become public knowledge), saying “the fact that this party went ahead is indefensible”.

He said, “I want to apologise to everyone who, looking at that, will think these people are flouting the rules designed to protect us all.” Notice the phrasing; he apologised to those of us who “will think” these people were flouting the rules. So he made no admission that any such flouting actually happened, even though it is right there in vivid colour.

But he doesn’t seem to think the Metropolitan Police should reopen investigations into such events.

And he certainly won’t support calls for Bailey and Mallet to be stripped of their honours, despite the facts: not only did they do nothing to earn such awards but they disgraced themselves by rubbing our faces in the fact that they could ignore the rules by which were were being forced to live – and get away with it.

“The decision to confer honours on people was one that was made by Boris Johnson as an outgoing prime minister. Outgoing prime ministers have that right,” said Gove.

Do they? Do they have the right to confer honours on lawbreakers? To put one of them into Parliament where he will be able to corrupt the law-making process? This party was a criminal act at the time, remember.

And these are just two of the questionable names on Boris Johnson’s honours list. It seems clear that the whole thing should be withdrawn and investigations launched into whether it is appropriate for any of the people he named to receive anything at all.

Saying outgoing prime ministers have the right to honour anybody they want is not an acceptable justification.

Now that I have made that clear, please return to Vox Political later in the day, when I’ll be publishing articles about events happening now, that this story may be an attempt to obscure.


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Something for the weekend: Jonathan Pie on Boris Johnson’s resignation [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Those of you who are familiar with Jonathan Pie will not have expected him to let this one pass without comment.

Here he is in full flow – mixing excellent points that seem to have passed beyond the understanding of senior Tory MPs with the kind of vitriol that might burn your ears off. So be careful:

One point: while Harriet Harman certainly could not have removed Boris Johnson from Parliament by herself, and there was no recommendation for him to be removed at all, it is not true that his constituents were the only people who could force him out; MPs could have done it is a motion to change his punishment to expulsion were supported by the House of Commons.

Any argument about that is entirely academic though, because – as the estimable Mr Pie has observed – Boris Johnson quit of his own accord.


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Cowardly Tory MPs may abstain from vote on Boris Johnson and Partygate

Not so much fun now, is it? Whether or not this image means what the Partygate Inquiry concluded, it has helped pitch Boris Johnson out of Parliament. Will their reaction to that inquiry have the same effect on large numbers of Conservative MPs?

The measure of an MP is in how they respond when faced with difficult decisions.

By that standard, it seems most of the current crop of Tories are worse than useless.

It seems a significant number of them will not be willing either to support or oppose the findings and recommendation of the Partygate Inquiry’s report on Boris Johnson – for fear of upsetting various sections of their voter base.

The rationalisations are ridiculous.

Apparently, some are afraid that Johnson’s supporters will turn away from them if they support the report’s findings. But the report itself is extremely thorough and answers any criticisms of its methodology, meaning that its conclusions are as safe as they could possibly be. Anybody who still thinks that Boris Johnson is a pillar of integrity should therefore be considered wrong.

The job of an MP faced with voters who insist that Johnson has been mistreated is to explain that the inquiry was carried out to an extremely high standard and arguments against its findings are just wishful thinking.

And how do these MPs know what the majority of their voters are thinking, anyway? It isn’t even 24 hours since the report was published. Anything said by members of the public before that is now irrelevant; we have all seen opinion polls showing how the mood of voters fluctuates over time – and that they are especially shaped by major events.

Some MPs are upset at what they consider the harshness of the proposed punishments against Mr Johnson. But anyone who reads it will see that he brought these punishments on himself. Originally the sanction was to be a 10-day suspension from Parliament. This was extended to 80 days because of the extremely strong – and public – response that he made after he had received advance notice of the report’s findings. This was itself a serious contempt of Parliament.

Considering the facts of the matter, one is led toward the conclusion that these MPs are not so much concerned about what other people think of Johnson and the report’s findings – they simply don’t want to be part of any final decision on it.

Cowards, one and all. And that seems to include their second-choice prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who “hasn’t yet had time to fully consider the report”, according to the BBC, and has thus managed to avoid commenting on it.

This Writer is heartened to read in that same article the belief of Tory MP Tim Loughton – one of the few who have dared to put their heads over the parapet – that the result’s recommendations will “go through very easily next week”.

We’ll see.

And with a general election looming ever-nearer, the choices these Tories make will be sure to affect not just Boris Johnson’s political future, but their own.


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Now MPs want Boris Johnson to pay back public funding for his Partygate lawyers

Payment: if Tory backbenchers block a motion for Boris Johnson to repay the public money used to fund his Partygate Inquiry lawyers, they’ll make second-class citizens of themselves. If they don’t, they’ll be admitting that more than a decade of Tory policies letting the rich siphon cash from the poor for no good reason are wrong.

Is this sour grapes from MPs who fear … second-class treatment (gosh)?

Opposition MPs led by Labour’s Karl Turner have demanded that Boris Johnson pay back £245,000 of public money the government provided to pay lawyers acting for him in the Partygate Inquiry.

The Cabinet Office decided to cover Johnson’s legal costs for the inquiry last year, when he was still prime minister, and has tried to justify the decision by claiming there is a precedent for supporting former ministers with legal representation.

There’s just one snag: the government has not been able to name a single example of a former minister receiving taxpayer-funded legal support for a parliamentary inquiry.

On the other hand

The BBC has spoken to two former ministers who were investigated by MPs for misleading Parliament and were not given legal support.

The former Labour MP and transport secretary, Stephen Byers, was not offered legal support when he faced a four-month inquiry in 2005.

Nor was the former Labour MP and paymaster general, Geoffrey Robinson, who was found to have “inadvertently” misled MPs in 2001.

So it seems Johnson has been given preferential treatment – and this has created a precedent.

Mr Turner reckons it means there is now a two-tier system: ministers and former ministers receive legal support to fight parliamentary inquiries, and backbench MPs do not.

He said it created a system that unfairly advantages ministers and former ministers who get their excessively large bills paid using public money, while backbenchers have to pay their own way.

The unfairness is heightened by the fact that Johnson is a multi-millionaire who is perfectly capable of paying his own legal bills – even when employing top public lawyers. Many backbenchers have fewer resources and such bills would put the same kind of legal help beyond their means.

You’d think this would remind some MPs of the way things are outside Westminster, wouldn’t you?

The UK has millions of people who can’t afford to eat a decent meal every day. The government could change that… but instead the only major changes to the system have provided the already-rich with more, and made it possible for them to suck money out of the masses.

So Tory MPs in particular are between a rock and a hard place here.

They can block the motion – showing they believe a small elite deserve the best, most expensive support they can get, all at the expense of the general public, just as is true in the country at large, with the poverty-stricken masses supporting the rich.

Or they can support it and make hypocrites of themselves, because they would be supporting the principle that everybody deserves the same chance and the rich don’t deserve more advantages than they already have.

Let’s hear them talk their way out of that one!


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Boris Johnson’s supporters come out to trash Partygate report. But look at the state of them!

Michael Fabricant: in this image he appears to be clamping his mouth shut – to avoid putting his foot in it?

There’s a famous saying that you can tell a person’s quality by the quality of their enemies. It also applies to their friends.

So let’s look at the people who’ve come out in support of Boris Johnson after the Partygate Inquiry found him to have lied – habitually – to Parliament and the nation.

Who are these people?

Dorries should certainly face reprisals if her claim about one of the inquiry panel’s members cannot be supported with facts.

What else are Johnson’s supporters saying?

So Fabricant defended Johnson without even knowing what was in the report and the evidence that supported it.

It indicates a faith in Johnson that borders on the psychotic, in This Writer’s opinion.

Oh, and what does Boris Johnson think of Michael Fabricant?

Hmm.


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