The PSNI issued dozens of penalties for Covid breaches on the very day Government officials were partying in Downing Street, according to figures released to this newspaper.
In one case, six people were arrested for organising a party on December 18 last year — precisely what was taking place undisturbed at No 10. Boris Johnson claims he accepted senior staffers’ assurances that no party took place and has ordered an inquiry.
The Prime Minister now faces a backbench rebellion by 60 MPs opposed to the imposition of further Covid measures. Johnson’s critics are, of course, correct when they say the Government is guilty of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrisy. The PM would, indeed, seem to have squandered whatever moral authority he had to lecture the rest of us.
The SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, is right, too, when he says that, while it’s right that anyone who breaks the rules faces punishment, the same principle must apply to Johnson and his entourage. But it’s a mistake to think of the issue as a binary one between introducing new restrictions and discarding the ones we have.
The answer is much simpler: it’s time to discard the Prime Minister.