Tag Archives: ministerial

Grant Shapps DOESN’T have ‘no role’ in rail strike – he’s apparently interfering merrily

Grant Shapps: if he’s forced to resign over this, it won’t be the first time. You can bet he’ll protest his innocence this time, too.

It seems Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been lying to Parliament – after he said he had no role in the rail strike, it has been alleged that he’s the one stopping agreement from being reached.

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said contracts mean the 15 train operators are unable to negotiate pay, conditions and pensions of 40,000 striking RMT workers without Shapps’s approval.

If they did try to reach a deal he could hit them with financial penalties by making them foot the bill for any extra wages costs.

This is based on legal opinion commissioned by the TUC from employment lawyer Michael Ford QC, who studied rail contracts to reveal a secret Dispute Handling Plan that rail operators must honour.

He said:

“These provisions mean train operators do not have freedom to negotiate matters which have given rise to the current dispute.

“It is the SoS, and not the operator, who has overarching direction and control of the strike.”

Of course, lying to Parliament remains a breach of the Ministerial Code that could potentially force an MP to resign.

So Shapps is now facing demands to actually do his job by resolving the rail strike in a way that ensures continued safety for passengers and security for workers – and then to resign from his job on grounds of corruption.

Source: Grant Shapps ‘misled public’ over claim he has no role in train strike – Mirror Online

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Boris Johnson’s anti-corruption champion quits – calls on PM to resign

John Penrose: when the Anti-Corruption Champion resigns because of the behaviour of the prime minister, it can only mean that he has found the PM to be corrupt.

Is this the killing blow against Boris Johnson?

The government’s anti-corruption champion has resigned, saying it is clear that Johnson has broken the Ministerial Code and the only honourable choice for the PM is to step down as well.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-Super-Mare, has himself suffered criticism related to corruption because he is married to Dido Harding who – as the person in charge of the government’s disastrous ‘test and trace’ strategy – wasted £37 billion of public money on a system that did not work at all.

But he has salvaged his reputation today by making it clear that he considers Boris Johnson to be unfit to lead the Conservative Party or the country – and that his reason for believing this is corruption.

In a letter to Johnson, published on Twitter, he stated: “It wouldn’t be honourable or right for me to remain as your Anti-Corruption Champion… nor for you to remain as Prime Minister either.”

He wrote: “My reason for stepping down is your public letter last week, replying to your independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code about the recent Sue Gray Report into ‘partygate’.

“In it you addressed the concerns over the Fixed Penalty Notice you paid, but not the broader and very serious criticisms of what the Report called ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ and its conclusion that ‘senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture’.

“You will know (and your letter to your Adviser on the Ministerial Code explicitly says) that the Nolan Principles of Public Life are absolutely central to the Ministerial Code, and that the seventh of them is ‘Leadership’.

“So the only fair conclusion to draw from the Sue Gray Report is that you have breached a fundamental principle of the Ministerial Code – a clear resigning matter.

“But your letter to your independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code ignores this absolutely central, non-negotiable issue completely. And, if it had addressed it, it is hard to see how it could have reached any other conclusion than that you had broken the code.”

Mr Penrose listed some of what he considered to be Johnson’s achievements, but then stated: “I hope you will understand that none of these can excuse or justify a fundamental breach of the Ministerial Code. As a result, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be honourable or right for me to remain as your Anti-Corruption Champion after reaching this conclusion, nor for you to remain as Prime Minister either.

“I hope you will now stand aside so we can look to the future and choose your successor.”

Damning words.

They make it clear that the government’s Anti-Corruption Chief considered Johnson to be corrupt according to the rules.

And they state that the prime minister should resign ahead of today’s vote on his future. Staying on to await the result of a ballot would be dishonourable and wrong.

Johnson now sits on the horns of a dilemma. Should he resign now, on Penrose’s advice? Or should he try to brazen it out and tempt the wrath of backbenchers incensed at being asked to support somebody who is dishonourable and corrupt?

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Watchdog chief says public need reassurance that standards are being maintained

Lord Evans of Weardale: the standards committee chair is a former chief of MI5.

Boris Johnson’s rewrite of the Ministerial Code is leaving the public with questions to answer about whether standards are being eroded, according to a watchdog chief.

Lord Evans of Weardale, chairman of the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, questioned Johnson’s decision to relax the rules so ministers no longer have to resign over minor breaches of the Ministerial Code, while refusing to allow investigations to happen independently.

Instead, ethics advisor Lord Geidt must still seek the prime minister’s consent before investigating – and Johnson may veto any such investigation.

Lord Evans said the change, while an improvement on the previous position, meant the adviser was still not “sufficiently independent”.

Lord Evans said:

“I think you’ve got to raise questions when you see the outcome of the police investigations and the Sue Gray report, and one or two of the other issues that have come up – I was outspoken myself in regard to the Owen Paterson business.

“So, there has been a lot of public disquiet about standards over the last six months.

“It’s one of those things that comes up from time to time and it’s really important to reassure people that we want to continue to maintain decent standards in this country.”

He continued:

“In terms of public confidence, I think independent investigation of breaches is critical.

“And that’s why we recommended both that there should be independent right to initiate investigations and also that, you know, when it’s a very minor breach, it might be more sensible to say, well, you don’t have to resign but there are other penalties.

“Our concern is that the Government chose to accept the range of penalties but did not accept fully the recommendation for independent investigation and determination of the facts.”

And he said it is up to Lord Geidt to decide his next move after Johnson insisted his police fine over a Covid rule-busting birthday bash did not constitute a breach of the ministerial code (because he had rewritten the Code to ensure that it did not).

The standards watchdog chief told the Today programme:

“He’s made his position very clear, that he felt in his report that was published this week that it was important that the Prime Minister should recognise that the partygate allegations and the outcome of that do have implications for the application of the ministerial code.

“Of course, the Prime Minister has subsequently written to him explaining why he believed that he didn’t breach the ministerial code in that regard.

“So, obviously, Lord Geidt will be giving consideration to what has been said. But obviously that’s a decision for him, to make up his mind on where he goes with this next.”

It seems Lord Evans is suggesting his fellow peer should protest the prime minister’s conduct in some way.

And why not? One does not prove oneself innocent of rule-breaking by re-writing the rules – nor does one demonstrate one’s own high ethical standards by refusing to allow independent investigation of one’s behaviour.

Source: Public need reassurance on Government standards, says ex-MI5 chief

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Johnson is dodging demand to explain why being fined doesn’t break ‘uphold law’ rule

Lord Geidt: he has said the only reason he didn’t offer advice to Boris Johnson on how to conduct himself within the Ministerial Code is he would have had to resign if Johnson didn’t take it. This implies that he expected Johnson not to, doesn’t it?

Boris Johnson’s desperation to hold on to power while exercising it in only silly and pointless ways is becoming increasingly blatant with every passing day.

The latest development is a demand by Johnson’s standards advisor, Lord Geidt, for the prime minister to explain why his fine for breaching Covid-19 laws by attending a party does not break the Ministerial Code duty to comply with the law.

Johnson’s only response is the legally illiterate claim that “paying a fixed penalty notice is not a criminal conviction”. Maybe not – but it is a criminal sanction. People don’t get fined if they haven’t broken a law – and the Code’s conventions demand that ministers breaking the law must resign.

In his annual report on ministers’ interests, Geidt said the Partygate fine meant “a legitimate question has arisen as to whether those facts alone might have constituted a breach of the overarching duty within the ministerial code of complying with the law”.

Even if Johnson thought there was no breach, Geidt stated that he “should respond accordingly, setting out his case in public.”

Do you think he will?

This is just the latest evidence that, as a recent Guardian editorial claimed, the UK is “not being governed seriously in very serious times”.

Anxiety that the UK is rudderless while Johnson desperately tries to bail himself out of trouble that he caused won’t be dispelled by current government policy, the writer claims – because it has been formulated purely to distract us from the prime minister’s illegal antics:

There can be no other purpose for the proposal to restore trade in imperial units. The tiny number of people who will be thrilled by the restoration of a right to exclude metric measurements from displays of goods will be hugely outnumbered by the people, including many Conservatives, who can smell the decay in such gimmickry.

Reports of a plan to lift the prohibition on expanding grammar schools belongs in a similar category, although it sounds weightier. This is a zombie policy that staggers on in the Tory imagination as a solution to problems of social mobility, despite ample evidence that selective education has the opposite effect. If Mr Johnson thinks his levelling up agenda will be enlivened by reviving discredited schools policy, he will be disappointed.

The same unoriginal impulse is being brought to ignite a proposed bonfire of EU regulation – the function of the “Brexit freedoms bill” announced in the Queen’s speech. Sunset clauses will be retroactively scattered across the body of retained European law, so that they expire regardless of whether a suitable replacement has been conceived. It is a wildly irresponsible idea, conceived in the delusional realm of Europhobic imaginations where every British economic problem has its origin in Brussels directives. In reality, it means legislating for deliberate uncertainty, as if the goal is deterring investment.

The writer goes on to make this bold statement: “the harder the prime minister scrapes the bottom of the policy barrel, the more desperate he looks.

“But the task of political survival is now consuming all of the energy that should be applied to running the country… Conservative MPs.. can have Mr Johnson as their leader, or they can have a functional government; not both.”

Sadly, even this is not true.

There is no evidence to suggest that a Tory government will function any more adequately without Boris Johnson than with him; considering the alternatives, they all have to go.

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

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

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

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

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

The Guardian states that,

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

We can all see that.

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

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

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

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

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

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Partygate: Boris Johnson may be getting no more fines, but he’s a long way from getting away with it

Boris Johnson at a party: this one was in Christmas 2020, apparently, but the police aren’t fining him for it. Hmm…

Never mind the rumours that Boris Johnson met Sue Gray to discuss how to “manage” her report on the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties; he’s not likely to affect her verdict.

Apparently they only met to talk about whether she should publish images in her report – and he said it was a matter for her to decide on her own.

At the moment, it seems she is pushing for clearance to name the so-called ringleaders of the Partygate scandal, discussing with Civil Service human resources and legal teams, as well as trade unions, how explicitly she can point the finger.

That’s not the behaviour of someone who has taken orders not to rock the boat.

Indeed, avid scandal-watchers are bulk-buying popcorn in time for next week’s publication of her report, which promises to issue scathing criticism of senior political and Civil Service figures, calling into question why illegal social gatherings were allowed to take place.

But the real scandal appears to be the possibility that the Commons Privileges Committee is unlikely to report on whether Johnson intentionally misled Parliament over these parties until September.

The Committee has not yet met to decide who will chair the inquiry, after Labour’s Chris Bryant recused himself over [an] accusation of bias.

It is also unlikely to conclude its investigation before Parliament breaks up for summer recess in July, raising the prospect of Mr Johnson waiting until September at the earliest until the final verdict is delivered on Partygate.

The net result of all this delay has been to diffuse the strength of the scandal.

Ms Gray was originally set to publish her expected-to-be-damning report in January, less than two months after claims came to light that Tory ministers and civil servants took part in illegal parties over a period of more than a year.

But she was delayed after Johnson’s fellow Balliol College, Oxford, alumnus Cressida Dick commissioned a Metropolitan Police inquiry into the allegations that has delayed matters for four months.

And in the meantime, MPs decided to hold their own inquiry into whether Johnson had broken the Ministerial Code. It is known that he repeatedly provided false information to the Commons about whether parties took place but the important question is whether he did so, knowing that his words were not true.

It is this inquiry that may push Johnson out of Downing Street, because knowingly misleading Parliament is a breach of the Ministerial Code for which the penalties go as far as expulsion from that assembly.

But if the verdict won’t be known until September, who will care?

Source: Boris Johnson to wait months for final ‘Partygate’ verdict on whether he misled Parliament

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Criminal Boris Johnson lied to Parliament and to all of us. He HAS to go

Before we get to the latest developments, let’s remind ourselves of what Boris Johnson told us in March 2020. The important part is between one minute and 45 seconds and three minutes and eight seconds into the clip:

Let’s reinforce that message with this clip of Tory Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden, who was Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the time:

So we know that Boris Johnson knew that nobody was allowed to meet in a social situation of any kind on – for example – his birthday, June 19, 2020.

And that means we have every right to be outraged that Boris Johnson broke the rules that he announced to us, in order to attend a birthday party laid on for him on that date.

We know that he did break the rules that he himself explained to the rest of us because the Metropolitan Police Service has told us so – issuing him a fixed penalty notice for breaking those rules.

This means that Boris Johnson has finally achieved his place in the history books – by becoming the first UK Prime Minister to become a criminal while in office.

The fixed penalty notice he received is described as a criminal sanction, rather than being for a criminal offence, but the legal situation remains that Johnson is to be consider a criminal from now on.

But it’s worse than that.

The reason it is worse is that Johnson lied to Parliament – and to the nation.

He denied that any lawbreaking took place – on multiple occasions. This Site has audio of it, obligingly provided by the BBC’s PM:

Here’s a more complete video of the December 8 apology:

And here’s his apology from January 12:

As you can see, he has gone from absolute denial that any wrongdoing happened, to denial that he took part in any wrongdoing. And now we know that he did indeed take part in the wrongdoing.

He can no longer claim that he didn’t know he was breaking the rules; he announced them, he broke them, and then he lied about breaking them.

In the circumstances, if he really didn’t know he was doing wrong, then he is not mentally competent to occupy the office of prime minister.

The Ministerial Code, which governs the behaviour of government members, is very clear on the subject of intentional dishonesty to Parliament: anybody committing such an act must be removed from office immediately.

Yet Johnson seems to think he can deliver an insincere apology and carry on. And because, as prime minister, he is the ultimate arbiter of whether the Ministerial Code has been broken, you can bet that he thinks he’ll get away with it:

What do you think of that?

It’s not acceptable.

He committed a crime.

He lied about it in order to cover it up.

He has only apologised after the police forced him to admit it.

This is not prime ministerial behaviour.

And if he won’t go voluntarily, then it is up to us to force him out. If you haven’t contacted your MP already, do so. This Site will inform you of national petitions to force Parliament to adhere to its own rules.

Prime Minister’s Questions: Boris Johnson fails to answer Partygate accusations

Downing Street party: Boris Johnson asks quiz questions at one of the events that he says did not happen at his home and workplace during Covid-19-related lockdowns.

Police have discovered widespread criminality in Downing Street, with 20 people – so far – fined for attending parties there during Covid-19 lockdown when it was illegal to do so.

That’s five more than originally reported when This Site broke the story.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on the record as saying no such parties took place and all regulations were followed, despite allegedly attending six of the 12 events under investigation himself.

At the very least, Johnson lied to Parliament and under the Ministerial Code he should resign.

In response to questioning, Johnson complained that Opposition leader Keir Starmer had previously said he should not resign, then fell back on a list of other issues he claimed to be tackling.

He did not address the question at all.

Doesn’t that indicate that he is as guilty as sin and should resign or be pushed out?

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#BorisJohnson says he’ll #resign if he broke #MinisterialCode on parties. There’s just one problem…

Read this:

Boris Johnson has admitted he will resign as Prime Minister if he is found to have broken the Ministerial Code and misled Parliament over lockdown parties in No 10.

Great! We know he has misled Parliament over those lockdown parties because after he told us no such parties took place, he has had to admit that he attended several of them.

So he’ll be resigning shortly – right?

Well…

It depends on whether he is found to have broken the Ministerial Code.

And who decides whether a government minister has broken the Code?

That’s a decision for the Prime Minister: Boris Johnson.

Source: PMQs live: Boris Johnson admits he’ll resign if he is found to have misled Parliament over No 10 parties

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#Johnsonlies – UK prime minister breaks #MinisterialCode by failing to correct the record

Remember This Site’s article a couple of days ago, showing how Boris Johnson had said fears over inflation were “unfounded”, then lied to MPs that he hadn’t?

Here’s the video clip with all the information you need:

I should have added that Johnson was subsequently challenged to correct the record – but didn’t:

The Ministerial Code is clear: he should have corrected the record immediately – but he didn’t.

And Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told him to sit down – effectively preventing him, it seems, from doing so!

It seems clear that both Johnson and Hoyle have some explaining to do.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook