Downing Street Christmas party: Boris Johnson no longer has the moral authority to lead (and the Tories know it) – Ian Murray MP

Instead of leading the country, the Prime Minister is leading a cover-up of a Christmas party in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson's shameless attempt to hide behind his staff won’t get him very far (Picture: House of Commons/PA)
Boris Johnson's shameless attempt to hide behind his staff won’t get him very far (Picture: House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson has thoroughly trashed his ability to lead the country in a time of crisis – again.

While the British people followed the rules and made deep, personal sacrifices, often saying a harrowing goodbye to loved ones from a distance or even by videocall, the PM’s staff laughed about their party and took the public for fools. Just when you think this Tory government couldn’t stoop any lower.

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The Prime Minister' s shameless attempt to hide behind his staff won’t get him very far.

Following scandals involving his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and numerous ex-ministers, it’s clear that the Prime Minister does not know the meaning of collective responsibility.

He never genuinely apologises and even when he tries to justify something, it’s always someone else’s fault.

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He has instigated an investigation into a party that he still can’t admit happened. He must be the only one in the country to still hold that view.

I guess that’s normal behaviour for someone who himself was sacked, twice, for lying in previous jobs. His relationship with the truth is certainly strained.

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We don’t need an internal investigation to prove that he has been caught red-handed. On the day of the Downing Street party, 489 people died of Covid across the UK.

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While hundreds were saying their final farewells to loved ones, and doing so having not seen them, under the rules set by him, inside Number Ten they were ignoring those very rules.

Johnson’s feeble apology is a gross insult to bereaved families and the public.

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I’ve heard countless stories of people in Edinburgh and beyond who were unable to be with their loved ones in their dying moments or at their children’s birth, and the government’s utter contempt for those who so diligently followed the rules is nauseating.

Even the Queen sat alone during her husband’s funeral, yet the Prime Minister somehow feels he has the authority to continue leading the country.

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This matters not just because of the heartache and the painful memories it has caused; it matters because Covid hasn’t passed, and we now have a Prime Minister who has lost the moral authority to ask people to stick to the rules.

People expect politicians to follow the rules set for everyone else, to lead by example. But he believes it’s one rule for him and one for everyone else.

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This is an issue of leadership and he has repeatedly failed. In parliament yesterday it was clear that his own party recognises this.

The glum faces on the Tory benches told a story: they know they can’t justify Johnson’s actions to their constituents anymore.

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Leadership is instead coming from the other side of the House, with Keir Starmer forensically holding this shambolic government to account while acting in the national interest.

The Prime Minister has no authority or integrity left and there is only one course of action that will restore that trust.

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His government is now rotten to the core with corruption and cronyism. All he has left to offer are lies, insults and denials.

As Dec told I’m a Celebrity viewers, he remains Prime Minister “for now”.

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Ian Murray is Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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