Tag Archives: minister

Did Boris Johnson try to kill off the Queen with Covid-19?

Boris Johnson and the Queen: he wanted to continue meeting her every week after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out – and would certainly have passed Covid-19 on to her if he had done so.

That’s a bold suggestion in the headline – but it seems to be supported by the evidence.

WhatsApp messages supplied by Dominic bloody Cummings say that Johnson was unwilling to go back into lockdown in autumn 2020 because he considered Covid-19 only to be fatal to people aged over 80 – who have therefore lived longer than national life expectancy.

“So get COVID and live longer,” is the typically-insensitive Johnson remark.

Now, I was going to point out that Johnson was effectively sentencing his own father to death:

But then I saw the hammer-stroke:

Cummings also told the BBC that Johnson had been determined to go to see the Queen in person, despite people in Number 10 already ill with Covid in March 2020.

“I said, what are you doing, and he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course you can’t go and see the Queen. He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her,” Cummings said.

Cummings said he eventually convinced Johnson not to take the risk. “I said to him, there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen. What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?

“You obviously can’t go … I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane. And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, ‘holy s**t, I can’t go.’”

Downing Street has denied the account – which is hardly surprising as it suggests that Johnson was, at the very least, reckless with regard to the safety of the Queen.

The UK Establishment may be happy to tolerate the many harms he has inflicted on the population at large, but endangering Her Majesty (who was 93 at the time and therefore well within the extreme-danger zone) is a different matter entirely.

Did Johnson mean to endanger her life by exposing her to the virus?

In all honesty, it’s doubtful. He is a very stupid, selfish man and in March 2020, when Cummings says he had to be stopped from visiting her personally, he was saying he did not think Covid-19 was going to affect the UK seriously.

He didn’t even know whether he had the disease himself (he did contract it and spent time in hospital with it).

He certainly would have passed the disease to the Queen if those meetings had indeed continued.

Now: all this information comes from Dominic Cummings, and he has a grudge against Johnson; this is one of a series of attacks he has launched against his former boss.

But of course, he is not the only source of information and questions are being asked about why reporters for the mainstream media haven’t bothered to find it out for themselves. I have my own view about that:

Well?

All you national TV and newspaper reporters – what are you waiting for?

Get out there and rake the muck until you can provide evidence to prove whether Johnson was planning meetings that would have endangered the life of the Queen.

Or is that beyond your meagre skill set?

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Tory MPs have been using private emails to covertly conduct government business for YEARS

Boris Johnson: who knows how much government business the prime minister has corruptly carried out over his own personal email account, in order to hide it from your scrutiny? And before anybody says they expect honesty from the PM, let’s all remember that we all knew what he is before he won the 2019 general election.

Why is everybody making such a fuss about Matt Hancock carrying out government business on the sly via his private email account now? Tory ministers have been doing this habitually since 2011.

There can only be one reason for it, too – and that is to avoid proper and lawful scrutiny of activities that they know are not acceptable behaviour for government ministers.

Michael Gove was caught using private emails to communicate with Department for Education personnel, all the way back in 2011.

Financial Times journalist Chris Cook established that Gove and some of his special advisers (or Spads) had been using private email accounts to conduct business which appeared to many (eventually including the Information Commissioner) to be Government business. It was suggested that this had been done to avoid potential disclosure of the emails through FOI.

Did Gove receive any punishment for this? No.

Liam Fox’s personal email account was hacked by Russians in 2019 when, as International Trade Secretary, he was responsible for negotiating a trade deal with the United States.

The hackers lifted 450 pages of classified information from the account, prompting Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to ask why Fox had been using an unsecured personal email address to carry out government business.

Has there ever been an answer to this question? No.

There have been attempts to justify the use of private emails – Tory MP Tom Tugendhat claimed in 2016 that he had received private advice from GCHQ, the government communications centre in Cheltenham, that a Gmail account would be more secure against hacking than the government’s own system.

It’s possible that he was telling the truth – after all, it has been claimed that GCHQ routinely monitors MPs’ private email accounts in any event. Alarmingly, it seems the US National Security Agency is also privy to any information gathered during these sweeps. Why?

And now we have information showing that Matt Hancock, Lord Bethell, Helen Whately and PM Boris Johnson himself have all misused their personal email accounts in order to hide business they have done as members of the government from lawful scrutiny.

You may have heard misinformation claiming that ministers are allowed to conduct some business by private email, depending on the seriousness of the matters concerned and the level of security to be applied.

This Writer heard a mealy-mouthed Tory apologist making such claims on Radio 4’s PM on June 28. They are not true.

Cabinet Office guidance clearly states that “The originator or recipient of a
communication should consider whether the information contained in it is substantive discussions or decisions generated in the course of conducting Government business and, if so, take steps to ensure the relevant information is accessible (e.g. by copying it to a government email address)”.

There is no opt-out. Any and all emails in which government business is carried out must at least be copied into the government’s email system and any failure to do so is a breach of the rules.

Sadly, the guidance note does not describe any sanctions that could be used against government ministers or officers for misuse of private email accounts to carry out government business in secret. This is a common omission that makes the rules themselves a dead letter; worthless.

In other words, while it is entirely possible that Hancock, Johnson and all the others have been corruptly hiding dirty Tory deals for more than a decade, there isn’t a damned thing that can be done to stop them.

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Mythbusting: nurse(?) makes mistake over ‘Do Not Resuscitate’

Ventilator: people with long-term illnesses, disabilities and learning disabilities are still being denied resuscitation by the NHS – and one nurse, at least, has denied the existence of this scandal.

I can’t let this pass.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on June 16, Peterborough’s Tory MP Paul Bristow asked an important question about “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders that have been made on NHS patients during the Covid-19 crisis.

Having reported on this scandal many times on This Site, I tweeted in response:

I was surprised and saddened when this provoked the following response from a Twitter user who identifies as a nurse (I won’t reproduce the tweet here because I do not wish to identify that person):

“Are you a healthcare professional?

“No.

“Then do not spread false theories about something you obviously know nothing about.”

I attempted to put my critic straight – as politely as possible, in the circumstances:

“I am a news reporter of nearly 30 years experience and have been covering this story from the start. I DO know the facts here. And I see that, since you provide no information to support your insult, you probably don’t. Go well.”

Sadly, this person would not take the (rather overt) hint and came back at me:

You have confirmed it.

It is a story.

I do not have the time, inclination or room on twitter to “provide you with information” only to say that I have 30 years experience as a nurse and have a postgraduate qualification in Professional Practice

Then this is a person who ought to have known better. The claim, “It is a story,” was an attempt to downplay the DNR deaths as fiction, and I wasn’t having that. Also the refusal to support a claim with factual information is a classic tactic by trolls who don’t have any facts to offer.

So I responded (again):

“And how does that better qualify you to comment on this? I’ve done the research so I know my facts. It isn’t fiction.”

And again this person came back at me:

Ok then would you attempt CPR on a five stone frail old woman? Am not going to carry on with this because I’m afraid you just don’t know what you’re on about

This is misleading, and a lie. Allow me to explain.

Mr Bristow’s question is available  to read in Hansard, here. He said: “Last year, doctors and care settings issued an unprecedented number of “do not resuscitate” orders to patients with learning disabilities and mental illness. Many were unlawful and caused avoidable deaths.

“Despite urgent Care Quality Commission and NHS guidance, shockingly, this practice has continued. Last week, The Telegraph reported that Sonia Deleon died unresuscitated. Her family said she was given a DNR without them knowing, and with her learning disabilities and schizophrenia stated as reasons.

“Does the Prime Minister share my alarm about these cases, which should have no place in our care, and does he agree that they should be independently investigated?”

I won’t bother to repeat Boris Johnson’s response as he made no undertaking to prevent further abuses of DNR orders.

It was clear that the issue here was not the safety of attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a person who may suffer as much harm in that attempt as by the condition that had caused them to need reviving.

It was a political choice to deny health care to people dying with Covid-19, because they have learning (or other) disabilities. It seems to have been considered an opportunity to clear many thousands of so-called “useless eaters” from the UK’s benefit books.

Sonia Deleon’s story is a classic example; you can read about it here.

In brief, almost a year after it was revealed that a policy was in place to deny NHS Covid-19 care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – and NHS bosses then claimed to have warned hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to make such orders on these people, Sonia Deleon was deliberately allowed to die because a DNR order on her had been made.

Hospital authorities claimed that it the order had been agreed with Ms Deleon’s family but they deny this strenuously.

Ms Deleon had learning disabilities and the circumstances of her death are not only a scandal in themselves but are a continuation of a national disgrace.

And I was criticised for highlighting this atrocity – by someone claiming to be a nurse.

I won’t take this matter further by seeking to identify the NHS trust for which this person works and requesting that they be reminded of the facts and properly disciplined for trying to mislead the public. I may change my mind if any further attempts at deception result from this article.

But I will take the opportunity to request that anybody who has relatives living with a long-term illness or disability, or a learning disability, should contact the NHS and ensure that orders equivalent to death sentences have not been applied to their loved ones without their knowledge.

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Incredible sulk: and Johnson will have a lot to sulk about if MPs tighten rules on lying

Temper, temper: Boris Johnson lost his rag in PMQs over repeated accusations of dishonesty and sleaze. Trouble is, his outburst contained at least one more false claim.

It had to happen at a Prime Minister’s Questions that This Writer didn’t see.

For once, Labour leader Keir Starmer had a good week – but then, with the kind of ammunition he has been provided over the last few days, he could hardly go wrong.

He spent most of his time on the financing of renovations to Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat. Questions over the origin of £60,000 of funding were asked months ago and not answered.

Now, Starmer asked directly whether the money – now pegged at £58,000 – was put up by Lord Brownlow – and Johnson failed to answer directly.

Rather than saying whether Brownlow had any involvement, he simply asserted – repeatedly – that he himself had “covered the cost”.

It would be entirely possible for Johnson to have “covered the cost” after receiving the money from a third party – and the fact that he did not flatly deny any involvement by Brownlow means his claim is meaningless.

But it may be Starmer’s first question that turns out to have been the bigger bear-trap. He asked whether it was true that Johnson had said he would rather have “bodies piled high” than implement another lockdown.

Johnson answered with a categorical “no”, coupled with a demand for Starmer to bring forward any evidence he had.

That may seem fairly straightforward.

But then Starmer said he would follow up on his question in the future.

And then the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford waded into the fray. Acknowledging that MPs aren’t allowed to directly accuse each other of dishonesty, he simply asked Johnson to say whether he is a liar or not.

And Johnson wouldn’t:

As you can see from the clip, first he tried to worm out of answering by querying whether the question was in order – it was.

Then he (again) questioned the evidence of him having done as Blackford (and Starmer) had suggested.

And then he responded that he had not said those words (leading us all to conclude that they may be a close paraphrase of whatever he really said).

Under this kind of pressure, perhaps it should come as no surprise that, while responding to Starmer’s claim that he was “Major Sleaze”*, Johnson underwent what might be described as a “sulk-out” – a two-minute rant that failed to address what he had been asked…

… including another false claim – that Starmer had voted against the Tory government’s Brexit deal.

And this is important, because…

As a result of all these accusations of dishonesty, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has supported a plan to enforce the rules on misleading Parliament.

Amid a fresh row over the prime minister’s “lies” to MPs, Lindsay Hoyle supported a proposal for the cross-party Commons Procedure Committee to look into “how perceived inaccuracies could be corrected” as quickly as possible.

This could create serious difficulties for Johnson, whose serial lies were mentioned on This Site very recently.

You see, Starmer is right – any minister who knowingly misleads Parliament – including the Prime Minister – is expected to offer their resignation.

If the Procedure Committee puts this expectation on a more formal basis – and Starmer produced the evidence that Johnson did make a comment to the effect that he would rather see multiple deaths than impose a lockdown – then that would signal the end of his premiership.

And it wouldn’t be a day too soon.

*That should be Major Corruption, as reported a few days ago by This Site (and others) – but perhaps Starmer was restricted from saying as much by Parliamentary rules (again).

Source: Boris Johnson Facing Tough New Rules To Force Him To Correct ‘Lies’ To Parliament | HuffPost UK

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Minister for VACCINES in cock-up over vaccination dates while trying to justify reopening schools

Nadhim Zahawi: waving the flag and fuddling the dates.

Should we give Nadhim Zahawi the benefit of the doubt for this faux-pas? No!

If it was an honest mistake, we should remind ourselves that Diane Abbott was given no quarter for making one, even after it was revealed that she had been trying to cope with an illness at the time.

You can still see right-wing commenters on the social media referring to it at periodic intervals, and congratulating themselves on their (small) wit for doing it.

Zahawi appears to have no such excuse for this:

He quite clearly does assert that the Conservative government has calculated that it should be safe to open schools on March 8 because that is three weeks after mid-April, when everybody aged over 50 is expected to have been vaccinated.

Firstly, it is entirely arbitrary to use the vaccination of the over-50s as a trigger for the reopening of schools. Why not over-40s? Over-30s? Or indeed, over-20s? All are just as likely to be affected.

Secondly – and I come to this last because it’s a biggie! – March 8 is not three weeks after mid-April. That would be May 8. March 8 is around five weeks before mid-April.

So by his own calculations, the minister for Covid-19 vaccination is telling is that his government is planning to reopen schools an entire two months prematurely.

I look forward to hearing his justification for the deaths that will be triggered by this wrong-headed decision to open all schools, too early, rather than experiment with a phased reopening, increasing as evidence recommends – as the other countries of the UK are doing.

Although, no doubt, it will be equally incomprehensible.

Boris Johnson may have an opportunity to correct this cock-up when he officially announces his “roadmap out of lockdown” later today (if that is still going ahead).

That’s if our complicit Tory media remember they have a responsibility to grill him about it.

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Zahawi appointed minister for Covid vaccine deployment – so it’ll be a disaster

Do you really want a National Health Service profiteer and expenses cheat running the deployment of Covid-19 vaccines?

Nadhim Zahawi was among 24 Tory MPs and lords who were found to have links with 15 private healthcare firms that received £1.5 billion of NHS money due to privatisation, between 2012 and 2014.

Before that, in November 2013, it was reported that he had claimed £5,822 expenses for electricity for his riding school stables and a yard manager’s mobile home.

In 2015, he helped ensure that energy companies would not have to pass on price cuts to consumers when wholesale prices fall – meaning your bills stayed high, inflating profits for the bosses of our privatised energy firms.

There’s more – see the image above (which was created several years ago) for some of it.

This is the Tory that Boris Johnson wants to run the vaccination scheme.

He’ll probably have a private company providing the jabs (one in which he has a financial interest, perhaps?) and demand that we pay for them.

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Blatant corruption as Jenrick and fellow Tory Berry allocate millions to each other’s constituencies

Robert Jenrick: he reckons it is ‘perfectly normal’ for ministers to corruptly funnel money from their own department’s funds into their own constituencies.

“Perfectly normal” is it, Robert Jenrick?

If you are utterly corrupt, it might be perfectly normal to allocate millions of pounds from a regeneration fund to your fellow MP’s constituency in return for him giving £25 million to yours. Not if you’re honest!

Jenrick tried to brazen out the Labour Party’s accusation against him when he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has dismissed Labour’s call for an investigation into the award of a £25m regeneration grant to his constituency.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show the decision to give the money to Newark, Nottinghamshire, had been taken by fellow minister Jake Berry.

Mr Jenrick said he had himself decided to grant funds to a town in Mr Berry’s constituency under the same scheme.

He called this “perfectly normal” and accused Labour of “distraction”.

The £25m was awarded to Newark under the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, set up last year to help places that had “not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas”.

Here’s a clip of him doing just that:

Jenrick is the Secretary of State for Housing and Berry is a minister within the same government department.

The public has already passed its own verdict on whether the decisions were corrupt – and both Jenrick and Berry have been found lacking:

There will be no inquiry into this and neither Jenrick nor Berry will face the sack, or even any disciplinary action. Boris Johnson’s government doesn’t believe it is accountable to the public.

They’ll probably divert attention by claiming the controversy is about something different. Jenrick has already tried:

He added: “This is perfectly normal. Ministers don’t get involved in making decisions for their own constituency.

“But neither should their constituencies be victims of the fact that their MP is a minister.”

That is not the issue. Just to spell it out so it is perfecly clear: The issue is that ministers from the Ministry of Housing have colluded to funnel cash from that ministry’s Towns Fund into their own constituencies.

Jenrick’s passion for corruption is already well-established – remember the controversy over his decision to help Richard Desmond avoid paying £50 million to a community where he wanted to build a new development that did not conform to planning rules.

Now we may add Berry to our ever-growing list of corrupt Tories.

Source: Robert Jenrick dismisses call for constituency fund probe – BBC News

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PMQs: Starmer misses Johnson’s gaping-open goal, allowing the Tory to make a fool of him

Johnson and Starmer: we have a PM for whom the initials more appropriately refer to him as a Performing Monkey, but the ‘forensic’ former Attorney General is incapable of beating him, despite his incompetence.

Keir Starmer’s protestations of support for Tory government anti-Covid policies came back to bite him on the arse in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Two weeks after supporting the government in its decision to close pubs at 10pm, Starmer u-turned, demanding an explanation of the science behind it. He gave Johnson a perfect opportunity to land a knockout blow – and launch a new anti-Labour soundbite:

I was dismayed:

Sadly, that was the way of it for the whole of this week’s PMQs – as I had feared at the outset:

Look at the rest of my commentary on the confrontation:

He didn’t. But Johnson picked up on that failure and it led to the knockout later on.

As I write this, Jo Coburn on the BBC’s Politics Live is suggesting to Labour’s Stephen Doughty that Starmer wrote Johnson “a blank cheque” by offering his support “whatever restrictions are in place”.

That failure – that lack of closure – seems to have given Johnson the confidence to launch his own attack.

I could have done better:

Starmer is under attack at the moment, for his failures to lead an effective Opposition against the Johnson government.

On Twitter, the general public are at each other’s throats with many attacking him under the #StarmerOut hashtag, while others have tried to subvert that with an opposing line, #StarmerOutstanding.

In the real world, the union Unite has withdrawn 10 per cent of its funding because Starmer “isn’t listening” on matters of major importance (I’ll make more of this in a separate article).

If he can’t respond to these criticisms – as he failed to protect himself from Johnson soundbiting him into shreds – then he must seriously reconsider his position.

He is leading Labour into irrelevance.

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Peston’s client journalism: his fawning tweet about ‘saddened’ Johnson gets short shrift

Johnson and Starmer: political hack Robert Peston managed to get between them during PMQs with an ill-judged remark that has singled him out as a client journalist for the PM.

Sometimes you can tell how a nation feels by the way it reacts to the reporting of the news.

That’s what Robert Peston has been discovering after a particularly ill-advised tweet toadying to Boris Johnson. Here it is:

Johnson wasn’t saddened. He was annoyed that Labour leader Keir Starmer was asking pertinent questions about the failure of the Tory Test and Trace system and was desperate to deflect attention away from that failure.

We all saw it – those of us who were watching Prime Minister’s Questions. And some of us had a few sharp responses:

No – it’s client journalism. Peston was working in Johnson’s favour, trying to make the performing monkey PM look better than he is.

It’s a moment’s work that has been particularly damaging for Peston himself:

And it hasn’t done Johnson any favours either:

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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‘Desperate’? Boris Johnson is clutching at straws as his party loses faith

Impotent rage: Boris Johnson is losing his grip on his party, as his incompetence as a leader becomes increasingly apparent.

Remember the old adage that repeating an action and expecting a different result is a sign of madness? It seems Boris Johnson hasn’t.

But then we already knew his grip on reality is tenuous at best.

The Observer is reporting that he is furious at the failure of his attempt to smear Labour leader Keir Starmer by connecting him with the IRA.

But rather than finding an alternative, he has instead reprimanded his advisers for leaving him under-prepared – and demanded more attack lines on Starmer, doubling down on criticism of his legal record.

It hasn’t worked; it won’t work.

Even where Starmer may be criticised, he knows those weaknesses and will have answers.

And of course Johnson will be laying himself open to analysis of his own past career – which consists of multiple claims of dishonesty and at least one high-profile sacking.

That won’t play well when he lays himself open to an airing of his faults at PMQs.

Meanwhile, his colleagues in the Conservative Party will be doing what they always do when they see a leader sinking; they’re sharpening their knives. Here’s The Observer:

There is evidence that the wider Tory party is losing faith in Johnson’s ability to lead them against Starmer – and signs that the chancellor Rishi Sunak has become the new favourite of the Conservative grassroots.

According to the latest survey of Tory members by ConservativeHome, the website for party activists, Johnson is now in the bottom third of cabinet ministers in the satisfaction ratings – having been the runaway leader nine months ago.

Johnson has slumped to 19th place, below Baroness Evans, the leader of the House of Lords, with a rating of plus 24.6%. Sunak meanwhile is out in front on plus 82.5%.

The verdict among the Twitterati is that Johnson is self-destructing:

You get the idea.

Who said Johnson would be gone by Christmas?

It seems likely he might be out a lot sooner.

Source: Desperate Boris Johnson to step up personal attacks on Keir Starmer | Politics | The Guardian

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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