There are any number of ways of seeing the photograph’s issued yesterday of the party Boris Johnson attended on 13 November 2020.
Denis Swayne MP managed to call it a work event yesterday, which was no excuse.
No doubt Grant Shapps will destroy any remaining credibility he has by telling the morning media round some lie or other as to why this was not an illegal gathering when we know it was, since people have been fined for being at it, and that the prime minister was entitled to be there as he was at home, which is not true as his home is in his flat. [Grant Shapps did indeed destroy the last shreds of any credibility he may have had; amonst other excuses, he implied Johnson was grieving the loss of his mother…ten months before she unexpectedly died. Ed]
The Metropolitan Police must also gave their reasons for not fining Johnson when they did others at the same event, but I doubt they will.
But, candidly, literally nothing anyone can say will alter the fact that this was very obviously a party. And parties were illegal at the time.
So what really happened? It seems to me that an illegal party was held. The Prime Minister must have endorsed it, because he could have stopped it. He had the power to do so. No one had more power than him. He was therefore responsible for this event. He should have been held responsible for it, and should have been fined, heavily, as a result.
He lied to parliament about this event. He was asked if any party took place on this day. He said none had. He had never corrected the record. The Standards Committee now needs to address this issue.
The Met chose not to penalise him. It is said they have seen this photo. Their action is totally inexplicable.
So what to do? First, conclude that the Met is utterly corrupt. There is no other explanation for their actions. All the senior officers involved need to be disciplined, in my opinion. A total reorganisation is required and the force’s excess powers need to be stripped from it.
Second, there is no point expecting the Met to take further action, and anyway this is all about politics now.
Third, the Standards Committee needs to suspend Johnson for lying to the House. The penalty should be at least ten days. Then there can be a recall petition in Uxbridge. This is the right way to punish this charlatan.
Fourth, we need a government that realises we face a systemic, existential crisis. It must appreciate we have faced fascism. It must be aware fascism has almost won. It must be willing to address that. It has to create unity and real choice. It has to sweep away the systems that let us reach this state. We need a democratic and constitutional revolution. We need all democrats to combine to guarantee the delivery of that now. We need them to name the enemy we face. We need to start this process immediately. We are in deep danger.
We are in the biggest political crisis I have ever known. I just hope politicians can rise to it.
You can read more articles and analysis on Richard’s blog.