Outrage as Tory champagne signing seems to make light of Partygate

Johnson Covid speech
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Partygate is back in the news again. But this time it’s because some clever Tory seems to have made a joke out of the ongoing scandal. Food critic Jay Rayner tweeted a picture of a champagne bottle on Friday. It had been donated to an auction in Hertfordshire by Tory MP Oliver Dowden.

Champagne auction

The bottle was reportedly signed by Boris Johnson himself. But, its description label was the really striking thing.

It read:

A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the exemplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader.

This was a joking reference to Boris Johnson breaking the rules during lockdown to attend a party. An act for which he was investigated by police and fined.

Oliver Dowden has since denied that he had anything to do with the description itself.  As did the Hertfordshire Community Foundation who held the event:


But, Twitter users were not in a forgiving mood. For example, one asked why nobody thought to remove the note ahead of the auction:

Another member of the public said that the joke captured the spirit of the current government. He said the Tories were “laughing in our faces”:

One commenter accused the Tories of having “no shame”:

There was a reminder of how many people had been lost in the pandemic which the Tories seemed not to be taking seriously:

Another said the ‘souvenir’ symbolised the “contempt” the Conservatives had for the public:

Strength of feeling

One Twitter user marvelled at how Oliver Dowden could have misread the public mood so badly on the matter of Partygate:

Police investigations are continuing into Partygate, which one person felt made it worse that Tories were making a joke out of it:

Answers to why the note wasn’t removed have not been forthcoming. But it seems that the Tories have underestimated how angry people are about the Partygate scandal. Or – more likely – that the Conservatives just don’t care.

One thing’s for sure though. The party which loves to brand its critics as ‘champagne socialists’ needs to get its own house in order before wheeling out that particular jab in future.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/No 10 Downing Street, cropped to 770 x 403, licensed under Open Government Licence.

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