Former prime minister Boris Johnson is facing further potential police investigations into the “Partygate” scandal. This comes after a government ministry handed two police forces material about alleged coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown breaches.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed they were “assessing” new information it has received over the last week related to “potential breaches” of the coronavirus rules in Downing Street between June 2020 and May 2021.
Meanwhile, the Times said Thames Valley Police were also analysing new evidence related to possible rule-breaking at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate outside of London. Multiple sources told the newspaper that the alleged breaches involved Johnson’s family as well as his friends.
On top of all that, Johnson has sacked his legal team ahead of the hearings next month. Adding insult to injury for the public, taxpayers will still fund his new lawyers. Then, according to the Guardian, the official public inquiry has threatened the Cabinet Office with:
criminal sanctions over its refusal to share Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages and diaries from during the crisis without heavy redactions.
The chair of the inquiry, Lady Heather Hallett, suggested that if the Cabinet Office considered the request to share WhatsApp messages illegal it should to a pursue a judicial review.
Partygate rumbles on
All this is typical of the increasingly chaotic behaviour from ministers and former ministers. After the cronyism of the pandemic, and the revolving door of ministers, the partygate allegations are still rumbling on. The longer they do, the more frustration from the public spills over.
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Lecturer Kit Yates described the “contempt” of Johnson’s behaviour:
I genuinely believe he thought he was above the law and that the rules he made didn’t apply to him.
How else do you explain the sheer contempt in which these stories show he clearly held the general public during his premiership.
One rule for them…https://t.co/hqDOGAdXRj
— Kit Yates (@Kit_Yates_Maths) May 24, 2023
Member of Independent SAGE professor Christina Pagel reflected on Johnson’s “shamelessness”:
Boris Johnson really didn't think *any* of the rules applied to him and his mates did he?
The shamelessness of it. The awfulness of giving daily solen press briefings when he meant none of it.
— Prof. Christina Pagel (@chrischirp) May 24, 2023
Professor of accounting Prem Sikka detailed the income streams available for the former prime minister:
Boris Johnson is currently collecting six figure sums for speeches in Texas and Las Vegas.
He is also gets £87k+exps as MP whilst not attending the Commons.
— Prem Sikka (@premnsikka) May 23, 2023
Sikka also summed up how much legal aid Johnson will be receiving:
In the UK, individuals can't get legal-aid if their gross annual income exceeds£12475, or where their gross income is greater than £12475 and disposable income is less than £37500.
Boris Johnson made £6m last year, got £250k legal aid.
Magic Money Tree.https://t.co/Zz2qJAGfze
— Prem Sikka (@premnsikka) May 24, 2023
Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke mourned those who died “apart”:
Every time one of these damn stories breaks it kicks the guts of those who grieved apart, who suffered apart, who mourned apart, who died apart.
The ones who strove to save others by obeying the rules.
Who acted with honour.
Who were decent 😔https://t.co/MH5j3mk01v
— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) May 23, 2023
And ITV presenter Paul Brand brought up the characteristic chaos Johnson brings:
So, to recap…
Boris Johnson has been referred to police – again
He’s sacked his lawyers
And the cabinet office faces threat of legal action if it doesn’t release his WhatsApps
… Quite a mess!
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 24, 2023
Chaos and more chaos
After everything Johnson oversaw – chaos, chaos, and more chaos – it figures that even more investigations into his behaviour are none incoming. All of this begs the question – was there any point during his time in Downing Street that he wasn’t breaking lockdown rules?
None of this is surprising, either. We can all see these slippery politicians picking and choosing which laws they obey. Johnson’s behaviour smacks of the entitlement that has cushioned his actions his whole life. Whilst it remains to be seen what will come of the inquiry’s findings, it will be genuinely surprising if it has any consequences for the coddled and privileged former prime minister.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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