Lisa Nandy MP: Party is over for this Prime Minister
Not sorry that he broke the rules, just sorry he got caught. He told us over and over again that no rules had been broken. He expressed real anger at the aides who laughed and joked about parties taking place in Downing Street during lockdown. He said that those in his inner circle who broke the rules must go and yet he seems to believe that these rules do not apply to himself.
Even now he still hasn’t come clean about the organisation of the event and if the email inviting over 100 members of Downing Street staff to “bring their own booze” and enjoy “the lovely weather” was sent with his knowledge or authority.
And it appears this wasn’t just a one-off. Just five days before the events of May 20, 2020 the Prime Minister and around 20 members of No 10 staff were pictured drinking wine and eating cheese in the Downing Street garden.
In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the allegations. To my knowledge there have been further reports of at least six other gatherings at Downing Street which could have been in breach of restrictions including the latest reports of two raucous leaving parties taking place in April.
These events are said to have gone on into the early hours of the morning and involved members of No 10 staff being sent out with a suitcase to stock up on wine and beer. This all took place as indoor socialising with those outside of your bubble was banned.
The very next day we watched the Queen leading by example and sitting alone at the funeral of Prince Phillip in observation of COVID restrictions in place at the time. Allegations of rule breaking gatherings have also been reported at several other Government departments as well as at the Conservative Party HQ.
At the same time as these events were taking place members of the public were being fined and cautioned because they were breaking the rules that members of the Government were themselves breaking without punishment.
This behaviour proves that this is a government that believes they can get away with anything.
They treat the public with contempt and clearly believe it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.
Since the reports of the events began to circulate, my inbox has filled with heart-breaking stories of people in Wigan who followed the rules under incredibly difficult personal circumstances.
They are rightly furious at the behaviour of the Prime Minister and his advisors.
I have heard from cancer patients who had to undergo chemotherapy terrified and on their own. I have heard from the grandparents who were unable to hold their new-born grandchildren.
NHS and care home staff report the anguish that enforcing the restrictions on the friends and loved ones of patients caused them. Friends and family were unable to give loved ones the send-off they deserved because restrictions on the numbers of people who could attend funerals.
One constituent movingly described how as the drinks trolley was being wheeled through Downing Street in May 2020 she was discovering by a phone call from the police that her partner had died alone at home. As they lived in separate houses, they had followed the rules and stayed apart for months. Now they will never be together again.
Real stories from people across Wigan who followed the rules to protect lives and livelihoods during the darkest months of the pandemic and who are now being left to feel like fools for doing so.
Instead of taking responsibility for his actions and the damaging rule breaking culture that has grown at the centre of Government the Prime Minister is instead trying to deflect attention by throwing around a number of eye catching but ill thought out policy ideas. He is also rumoured to be planning to sack a number of No 10 staff in order to ease the pressure on himself.
But it is clear that the message from the public is that the party is over for this Prime Minister. The only question is will his party show some integrity and kick him out, will the public have to kick him out or he will he finally do the decent thing and resign.
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