Boris Johnson’s Partygate defenders reveal the double standards of the British establishment
If the Prime Minister is “only human” as Grant Shapps suggests, then he should be treated just like anyone else would be if they had acted in this way.
"I firmly believe that if we drive out so-called minor crime then we will be able to get a firm grip on more serious crime,” said Boris Johnson as he pledged to clamp down on even the smallest crimes that took place while he was mayor of London.
Fast forward to 2022 and the government he leads no longer seems quite so keen that offenders should face the consequences of their actions.
Asked whether the Prime Minister should have to resign following the news that he has been fined for breaking his own COVID lockdown laws, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky on Wednesday that he should not because he is “only human” and “didn't set out to break the law.”
Of course this was not a defence Shapps was so keen to apply when announcing tougher laws for reckless cyclists, or when attacking the decision not to prosecute the protesters who toppled the statue of Edward Colston.
However, when it comes to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor breaking the very laws they themselves set, it appears maximum leniency must always be applied.
It’s not just Cabinet ministers who seem keen for this story to go away but parts of the notoriously “fearless” British press too.
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Both the Daily Mail and The Sun today splash on calls for the nation to move on from the scandal, just hours after the fines were issued.
The Sun goes further, reporting that the Metropolitan Police are facing “fury” for their “overbearing” actions in issuing the fines.
This fury is presumably entirely unrelated to the fact that the paper’s own Deputy Editor James Slack was among the attendees at one of the Downing Street parties that has so far faced penalties from the Met.