Neil Parish MP calls for ‘full truth’ on party

“Full truth” from/about Boris Johnson? Don’t hold your breath Neil, it’s an oxymoron. – Owl

As the Evening Standard writes:

The Government’s current “line to take”, that it must wait for senior civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation, is unsustainable and cannot possibly survive the bear pit of Prime Minister’s Questions. [Or another week of public ridicule? – Owl]

Johnson does not require an impartial inquiry in order to know whether he and 30 colleagues attended a bring-your-own-booze jamboree in his own garden at No 10….

…And while No 10 staffers were working long hours throughout the pandemic, so were many essential workers, not least in the NHS. They did not behave in this way, and they certainly were not simultaneously drafting laws and going on television to tell people how to behave.

This is long past being a Westminster village story. It has cut through in the polls because of its rank hypocrisy and disrespect to the public. Sue Gray is a highly respected public servant, but we do not need her to tell us what we can see with our own eyes.

Edward Oldfield (Extract)

Senior Devon MP Neil Parish has called for the “full truth” to be revealed about the lockdown party in Downing Street.

The Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton said the Prime Minister was right to apologise to the nation “for attending what may prove to be a rule-breaking event”.

He said the inquiry by a senior civil servant will establish what happened, and he was awaiting the outcome.

Mr Parish’s comments came on Thursday morning following Boris Johnson’s statement to the House of Commons.

The prime minister is facing calls for his resignation after he admitted attending the ‘bring your own booze’ event on May 20, 2020, in the garden of Downing Street.

Mr Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “We need the full truth to be aired about the Prime Minister’s involvement, and to know exactly what happened. The inquiry by the senior Cabinet Office civil servant, Sue Gray, will determine that.

“However, as we await its outcome, the Prime Minister has rightly apologised to the House of Commons and to the nation for attending what may prove to be a rule-breaking event.

“Once the inquiry is concluded, the Prime Minister must return to the House of Commons and respond to its findings.

“I await the outcome of the inquiry, and what action the Prime Minister will take in response, if indeed he broke the rules.”

Devon backbencher Sir Gary Streeter says he is reserving judgement on Mr Johnson’s future as Prime Minister.

The Conservative MP for South West Devon says he is waiting for the outcome of the inquiry.

Sir Gary said: “As is the right thing to do, I am awaiting the outcome of the Gray enquiry before reaching a considered conclusion.”

Owl What were the Covid rules on 20 May 2020?

The UK went into lockdown on March 23, 2020.

From May 13, 2020, guidance was eased from only allowing people to leave the house for food, medical supplies and daily exercise.

The new guidance allowed people to meet up outdoors with only one other person from outside their household and two metres social distancing, needed to be in place.

You were not allowed to visit friends and family at their homes and gardens and Covid support bubbles had not been introduced.

Any shop deemed non-essential was closed. 

Rules at this time still encouraged working from home, however those in essential jobs including civil servants, were able to work in their place of employment.

In May, Boris Johnston announced that those who were unable to work from home could ‘speak to their employer about going back to work.’

But, workplace activities were restricted to working only, with social distance measures in place, socialising with work colleagues at this time was not allowed.

Although all this looks clear, the Johnson defence (and defence of Johnson) seems to rely on drawing a distinction between what were legally enforceable regulations, and what was “just” guidance (the difference between must and should). All along the Prime Minister has been reluctant to draw hard lines.  Retrospectively, it’s quite hard to disentangle the two. So there’s plenty of wriggle room for the legally minded.