Tag Archives: Partygate

Hapless Conservative chairman donates ‘Partygate souvenir’ to charity

Perhaps it’s right that the Conservative Party should have a hapless fool like Oliver Dowden as its chairman – he reflects the state of the organisation he runs.

Dowden’s latest blunder is his donation of a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson to a Hertfordshire charity, for inclusion in a fundraising auction.

That organisation cannily listed the item as follows [boldings mine]: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the examplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader!”

See for yourself:

A spokesperson for Dowden said, “this item was donated in good faith several months ago” and “this is obviously not his view” after the auction leaflet was shared on Twitter.

Of course it doesn’t matter if the bottle was donated several months ago – the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties had been taking place under the prime minister’s nose since April or May 2020.

Whether Dowden knew about it at the time he passed on the bottle is more debatable. But we have video evidence of Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about a party that took place on December 18, 2020 (and for which 50 people have just been fined), that was taken four days later.

If Dowden didn’t know about this, then he’s clearly unfit to do his job, and nor was his immediate forerunner, Amanda Milling, if she did not have that information to pass on to him.

Then there’s the question of Dowden’s reaction to the way the lot was accepted by the charity:

Probably more damning still is this observation:

So we have a Tory chairman who should have known about the Partygate allegations at the time, donating a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson that he should have known – or should have been advised – could cause embarrassment to his party and government, to a charity that greeted the donation with hilarity (indicating that this happened after the scandal became public knowledge); he apparently did nothing to counter that response at the time.

And now he’s complaining about the way it has been marketed in a fundraising auction.

This man is too stupid for words.

If the Tory leadership – Johnson – had any teeth, Dowden would be heading for the backbenches with his tail between his legs, there to stay for the rest of what we should expect to be a mercifully short career.

But it is a sign of the weakness of Johnson’s team that this embarrassment to the name of Conservatism will probably go unpunished in any way.

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Starmer ‘rule breach’ looks like Tory mud-slinging ahead of local vote

Keir and the beer: but isn’t the real question what the person who took the image thought they were doing? VoyeurGate, anybody?

Did Keir Starmer have a bottle of beer in a Durham MP’s constituency office last year?

Yes.

Was it against the rules at the time?

Probably not. There isn’t really enough information to be sure.

Skwawkbox has provided a handy list of the rules here – and that site considers Starmer to have broken the rules.

But the BBC takes a more nuanced view.

Labour itself says Starmer was at the office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy for an online event ahead of the Hartlepool by-election – a neighbouring constituency. As pubs were closed, getting take-out food was the logical course of action.

Rules in force at the time said people should work from home if they could. It could be argued that this was an occasion in which working from home was not possible – and there was an exemption for “work purposes”. There were no specific rules for meals at work events or for socialising at them.

Durham police have investigated and said they were satisfied that no rules were broken.

That wasn’t enough for North West Durham Tory MP Richard Holden. He argued that “this location was not the usual workplace” of Sir Keir, and there was “no necessity” for him to attend the event.

Really? If it was billed as an online rally with Keir Starmer and Mary Foy, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend, and if it was organised by Ms Foy’s constituency party, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend it there.

And now there’s a question about Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner attending – which, again, is probably neither here nor there, considering the restrictions described above.

So on balance, This Site tends to agree (for possibly the first time!) with Starmer: “We’re a few days away from local elections, and Conservative MPs are trying to throw as much mud as possible.”

There isn’t any correspondence with the so-called Partygate scandal because the Downing Street gatherings were social events. Boris Johnson was fined for attending a party, not a work event.

So this issue is nothing more than a distraction – and a shot in the foot for the Tories.

That’s because, by concentrating on alleged lockdown rule-breaking, the Tories are focusing attention on their own wrongdoing more than anybody else’s. Their prime minister has been caught breaking those rules; Starmer is only accused.

And the simple there are far worse failings in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party that the Tories could be exploiting.

What surprises This Writer is that either party is anywhere at all in the polls. Other political organisations should be walking all over them while they squabble about this.

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Is Sue Gray’s Covid parties review so damning it could finish Boris Johnson as PM?

Boris Johnson and Cressida Dick: her decision to investigate the so-called Partygate scandal bought him a three-month reprieve from the “excoriating” contents of Sue Gray’s report – but now seems likely to add fuel to incendiary criticisms it contains.

This casts the Metropolitan Police’s decision to investigate the alleged lockdown-busting Downing Street parties – after initially refusing – in a very poor light indeed.

The Met, under then-Commissioner Cressida Dick, decided to launch an investigation after all, shortly before Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray was due to publish her review into the events underlying the so-called Partygate scandal.

Ms Gray had been expected to publish her report around January 24 this year, but it didn’t appear on that day – and on the very next day, Dick announced that the Met was launching an investigation of its own.

This Writer said at the time that the announcement seemed an obvious delaying tactic and today’s (April 25) revelation suggests that I was right.

Ms Gray was forced to amend her report because the plods said they didn’t want it to contain any information that could prejudice their inquiries.

And now we hear claims that the full report is so “excoriating” of Johnson that it could end his term as prime minister:

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.

Ironically, it seems the Met’s delaying tactic is likely to have made matters worse for Johnson in the long term.

Already he has received one fixed-term penalty – a fine – for attending a party held to celebrate his own birthday in 2020. It seems likely he will receive another for a “bring your own booze” event in the garden of 10 Downing Street on May 20 that year.

And there are four other events that he allegedly attended being investigated by the police as well.

Ms Gray can’t release her full report until after the police investigation has ended but, by then, any criticism of Johnson may be superceded by the consequences of the fines.

According to the i newspaper, Tory rebels are organising to oust him if their party fares poorly in next month’s local elections – or if he receives further fines.

The three-month reprieve Johnson has enjoyed as a result of the police investigation has merely allowed them to organise themselves, it seems.

The paper says Johnson’s critics are currently “holding back” to await the local election results or further fines – but have prepared ‘no confidence’ letters to be submitted en masse to the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs should the party take a battering at the polls on May 5.

It seems Johnson’s chickens are coming home to roost and any plan to fend off his critics with an early general election is likely to fail. How will he try to save his bacon now?

Source: Sue Gray’s Covid parties review could spell ‘end’ of Boris Johnson premiership, says report

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Will committee set to decide Johnson’s fate be replaced entirely?

Recused: Chris Bryant can’t chair the Commons Privileges committee while it examines Boris Johnson’s behaviour because he has already called the prime minister a “proven liar”.

The House of Commons Privileges Committee – that will decide whether Boris Johnson deliberately lied to MPs about Partygate – could be temporarily replaced with an entirely new membership for the job.

Committee chairman Chris Bryant has already recused himself because he has publicly accused Johnson of being a “proven liar”.

The Labour Party must now appoint a new chair, and is said to be looking for a ‘grandee’ to take Bryant’s place.

And there are concerns that that three of the four Tories on the committee – Laura Farris, Alberto Costa and Andy Carter – are on the Government payroll as ministerial aides.

It is entirely possible to replace the whole committee in order to ensure fair process – as happened for the Parliamentary inquiry into Tory former Cabinet Minister Damian Green.

The process may be slightly disrupted if, as is being reported, seven Conservative MPs defect to Labour over Johnson’s Partygate criminality and alleged dishonesty (Dehenna Davison is the only possible defector to have been named).

Obviously they could not be nominated onto the committee but defections would make it harder for the Tories to find candidates.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘plots early general election to see off leadership rivals’ as Partygate trundles on | Daily Mail Online

Partygate signals huge local election losses for Tories, campaigners say

Caught by the ballots: if Boris Johnson continues to show the lack of contrition over Partygate that we have seen so far, his own backbenchers will probably backstab him, fearing that losses of local councillors will endanger their own Parliamentary salaries and expense accounts.

Boris Johnson will make this worse because he simply doesn’t care.

He has been told that the Conservative Party – of which he is the leader – will lose huge numbers of council seats in the May local elections because he attended illegal parties in Downing Street while the rest of us obeyed his lockdown laws.

The losses are likely to be worsened if he receives any more fixed penalty notices for attending parties other than the birthday event for himself, for which he has already been fined – and police are said to be investigating five.

The Metropolitan Police have said they will not announce whether Johnson receives further fines during the pre-election “purdah” period (as it may be construed as an attempt to influence the way people vote) but Downing Street has said that it will make a statement if the prime minister receives any.

Johnson is facing an inquiry into whether he deliberately misled Parliament with multiple claims that there were no rule breaches before he received his first fine for breaching his own rules.

He apologised to Parliament on April 19 but Conservative MP Steve Baker has denounced Johnson’s words as insincere: “The contrition didn’t last much longer than it took to get out of the headmaster’s study. By the time we got to the 1922 Committee meeting that evening it was the usual festival of bombast and orgy of adulation.

“It took me about 90 seconds to realise he wasn’t really remorseful.”

That is what’s going to turn voters away from the Conservatives on May 5.

Johnson doesn’t care because he thinks the loss of local councillors won’t affect his position as prime minister.

But his attitude fails to take into account the fact that Tory backbenchers will be in danger of losing their seats if he continues to show the indifference that we are seeing now.

And like Johnson himself, the Tory MPs’ first loyalty is to their own income stream. If his continuation as PM puts their Parliamentary jobs in jeopardy, they’ll take action to prevent it.

Expect more letters of ‘no confidence’ in his leadership to flood in to Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, pronto.

Source: Tories face heavy local election losses over Partygate, PM told | Conservatives | The Guardian

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More than a dozen Tory MPs call for Boris Johnson to quit over Partygate

Johnson in India: he’s not making a sign of greeting – he’s actually praying that something will happen to get him off the hook.

It’ll go higher – but for now we’re hearing that more than 12 Conservative MPs are now calling for Boris Johnson to quit as prime minister – before the weight of evidence against him forces him out.

On Friday (April 22, 2022), Robert Largan became the latest Tory MP to speak out against Johnson, telling constituents in a newsletter that he “will not defend the indefensible”.

He joins others including Nigel Mills, Caroline Nokes, Craig Whittaker, Anthony Mangnall, Tobias Ellwood, and Gary Streeter who have already called for Johnson to go.

Johnson himself ran away to India before MPs supported a motion for an investigation into whether he lied to Parliament “on the nod” – they didn’t even bother to vote on it.

He’s there to talk up a post-Brexit trade deal (it’s too much of a stretch to suggest he’s been “working” on it) that he says he wants done by Diwali in October.

Asked at a news conference whether he was “absolutely sure” that he would still be prime minister by then, he said: “Yes.”

But you can bet that’s another lie.

Source: Boris Johnson says he will still be PM in six months despite backbench rumblings over partygate | Politics News | Sky News

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Johnson’s future in the balance: he WILL face inquiry over deliberately misleading MPs

Boris Johnson (right) preparing to ask questions at a quiz during one of the many lockdown-busting Downing Street Christmas parties. He has said he was not aware that these events broke the rules he laid down for the rest of us.

Boris Johnson’s continued tenure as prime minister may be in danger after MPs voted to launch an inquiry into whether he deliberately misled them about his attendance at lockdown-busting Downing Street parties.

No actual vote was taken because – after all the bluster that the Conservatives would not allow an investigation to take place, in the end, no objection was voiced to the motion and it went through “on the nod”.

This signifies a huge about-turn in the attitude of Conservative MPs.

Johnson’s Tory government had indicated that it would submit an amendment to Labour’s motion for an inquiry, seeking to delay the vote.

But this was withdrawn. Perhaps ministers had realised that backbenchers were being influenced by the public mood against their prime minister, and thought it would be better to let them express their feelings in a single vote, rather than two.

Conservatives certainly showed no reticence about expressing themselves during the debate.

It seems they were not prepared to defend Johnson, believing that it would reflect badly on them, allowing voters to accuse them of covering up their prime minister’s criminality and dishonesty.

William Wragg, Conservative MP and Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said few Conservatives can “truly enjoy” being an MP at the moment, and it is “utterly depressing” to be asked to “defend the indefensible”. He would vote for an investigation into Johnson’s behaviour.

Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker said he had wanted to forgive Johnson after the prime minister made an apology to MPs on Tuesday – but “that spirit of earnest willingness to forgive lasted about 90 seconds” into a meeting Boris Johnson held with his backbenchers later the same day.

“[It was] an orgy of adulation, a great festival of bombast, and I cannot bear these things… This level of transgression, this level of demand for forgiveness requires more than an apology drawing a line under it and moving on in the way the prime minister sought to do in his interviews.”

He said both Johnson and his advisers “need to understand this is a permanent stone in his shoe” and those who want to forgive him “want to see permanent contrition”.

Baker went on to tell the story of a constituent who didn’t get to see his wife of 50 years in a care home before she died, because of lockdown rules. “What am I to say to that man? I could say… you and I are Christian men and forgiveness is hard. [But] I don’t want to forgive him. I do not want to forgive our prime minister.”

He added that, if he was in any other job, Johnson would be “long gone”.

“Having watched the contrition… it only lasted as long as it took to get out of the headmaster’s study, and that’s not good enough for me, and that’s not good enough for my voters. I have to say now the possibility [of forgiveness] has gone… and for not obeying the letter and the spirit, the prime minister now should be long gone.

“The prime minister should just know the gig’s up.”

Conservative MP Peter Aldous said “this situation is completely unprecedented” – and the Privileges Committee should be invited to investigate.

Conservative Andrew Mangnall, MP for Totnes, said he still has a letter of no confidence in the prime minister with Sir Graham Brady of the 1922 Committee: “Every day that I see issues and rules broken in this place only reaffirms my belief that we have to stand up in this place and make it clear that dishonesty, inaction and misleading of the house cannot be tolerated, from anyone.”

He said he forgave Johnson for making mistakes – “but not for misleading the house as I see it”. He welcomed the motion and said he looked forward to the findings pf the Privileges Committee.

The investigation, by the Commons Privileges Committee, will not take place until the last fixed penalty notices are delivered by the Metropolitan Police and Sue Gray, who ran a Cabinet Office inquiry into the matter, is allowed to deliver her own final report.

Once all the information from the police and Ms Gray has become public knowledge, the committee of MPs – most of them Conservative – will decide Johnson’s fate.

If today’s performance is any yardstick, it isn’t looking good.

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Tory MPs supporting Johnson should remember the words of bereaved families: he took us for mugs

Insult added to injury: Boris Johnson’s planned response to bereaved families who stuck to the lockdown rules that he chose to break.

On Thursday, April 21, MPs will vote on a Labour motion for an inquiry to be held into whether Boris Johnson deliberately misled them when he said no lockdown-busting parties happened in Downing Street, despite having attended (and, allegedly, planned) at least one.

The BBC is reporting that the result is a foregone conclusion because Johnson is whipping Tory MPs to support him, even if they don’t think he deserves it. He’s that corrupt.

All This Writer can say is, I hope those Tory MPs take a step back and think about what the revelations about Johnson’s party attendance mean for people who lost loved ones to Covid-19 during his lockdown – and were banned by law from being with them at the end; a law that Johnson wilfully broke:

Bereaved families have said Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak “took us all for mugs” and should “be gone tonight” after the pair were fined for breaking Covid lockdown rules.

Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said there was “simply no way” the prime minister and chancellor could continue in post.

He said: “After everything that’s happened it’s still unbelievably painful to know the prime minister was partying and breaking his own lockdown rules while we were unable to be at our loved ones’ sides in their dying moments, or in miserable funerals with only a handful of people because we were following the rules.

“The fact that the prime minister and his chancellor then lied about it, and would have continued to do so if the police hadn’t intervened, is truly shameless.

“They broke the law. But even worse, they took us all for mugs.”

“Their dishonesty has caused untold hurt to the bereaved.

“Not only that, but they have lost all credibility with the wider public, which could cost lives if new variants mean restrictions are needed in the future.”

This is true; I have spoken with many people since the fines were handed out and, in the now-unlikely event of another lockdown being ordered by the wretched Johnson, none of them have any intention of observing it.

The outrage about this betrayal is not about to go away.

Johnson made a law that caused huge anguish among those who abided by it – then decided that he wasn’t going to let it spoil his good times and broke it willy-nilly. Then he lied about it – repeatedly.

I have no doubt that he would still be hypocritically claiming that he didn’t break the law if the Metropolitan Police had not reversed its original decision not to investigate his crime.

If he is saved in Thursday’s vote by Tory MPs who choose to ignore the will of the people on this matter, then they will have proved that they are truly unfit to govern.

Source: ‘Truly shameless’: Covid bereaved families say Boris Johnson ‘took us all for mugs’ after lockdown party fine | The Independent

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The wind turns against Boris Johnson as Tories call for him to go

Boris Johnson: we all think it’s time for him to go so perhaps he should stop sulking about it and clear off under his cloud of disgrace.

Boris Johnson’s call for support from Conservative MPs seems to have had a very short-lived effect.

Perhaps after seeing the results of an opinion poll in which their prime minister was described by one person as an “utter anus”, backbenchers are turning against their dishonest, criminal leader.

Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper publicly called for his resignation and submitted a letter of ‘no confidence’ in his leadership after Johnson was fined for breaking Covid-19 lockdown laws that he had announced to the nation personally:

“I regret to say that we have a prime minister who broke the laws that he told the country they had to follow, hasn’t been straightforward about it and is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible,” Mr Harper said.

“I’m very sorry to have to say this, but I no longer think he is worthy of the great office that he holds.”

Harper followed a number of other Tories who have also spoken up against Johnson.

Former Cabinet Minister Karen Bradley branded Johnson’s behaviour “unforgivable” and said:

“If I had been a minister found to have broken the laws that I passed, I would be tendering my resignation now.”

Penrith and the Border MP Neil Hudson said he “categorically will not defend the indefensible” and that “the situation is untenable”, urging Johnson to lay out a timetable for an “orderly transition to a leadership election as soon as the international situation permits”.

Other MPs to have openly called for the PM to quit since the fixed penalty notice landed are Nigel Mills and Craig Whittaker.

In response to Harper, Johnson said: “I bitterly regret the event in Downing Street as I have said, but I do believe that it is the job of this Government to get on with the priorities of the British people and that is what we’re going to do.”

How would Johnson even recognise “the priorities of the British people” when he’s always so busy pandering to his own most basic lusts?

Source: Boris Johnson branded ‘dishonest’ by Keir Starmer as Mark Harper submits letter of no confidence over partygate | Politics News | Sky News

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Why are Tory MPs supporting Johnson when the public overwhelmingly HATE him?

It probably isn’t him but it gets the message across: in a national poll, Boris Johnson has been described as an “utter anus” by at least one respondent. And he’s whipping his MPs to pretend there’s no reason for an inquiry into whether he was dishonest to them…

The Labour Party has secured a vote to decide whether a Commons committee should investigate if criminal prime minister Boris Johnson misled Parliament when he said he adhered to all Covid-19 laws despite attending at least one lockdown-busting party.

Sadly, it seems unlikely to achieve anything as all Conservative MPs are likely to be placed under a three-line whip, ordering them to reject the move in a clearly corrupt attempt to avoid evidence revealing that Johnson deliberately lied.

Ironically, the public have already made up their collective mind: the overwhelming majority of us know a lying criminal when we see one, and that’s how we describe the despicable habitual lawbreaker Boris Johnson.

poll by JLPartners found that just 16 per cent of people would use positive language to describe the prime minister with more than 70 per cent characterising him in negative terms.

Voters were asked to describe the prime minister, with the most frequent description being that he is a ‘liar’ – followed by ‘incompetent’ and ‘untrustworthy’.

Other words used regularly by voters to describe the PM include “idiot” and “buffoon”, while one voter described him as an “utter anus”.

Let’s hope that catches on; I certainly would like to see Johnson described as an “utter anus” wherever he goes.

Amazingly, according to the BBC a majority of Conservative MPs haven’t yet caught on that the rest of us think their leader is an “utter anus”, and are set to support him on Thursday’s vote, as they did during Tuesday’s debate.

One gets the feeling that, by then, Johnson may need the three-line whip he is inflicting on them – otherwise they may act on information received between now and then and vote to dump him.

Doesn’t it say everything about this corrupt criminal liar, “idiot”, “buffoon” and, indeed, “utter anus” that he needs to coerce his own MPs into standing by him?