By Dawn Robinson-Walsh:
As Boris Johnson faces calls from backbenchers to stand down/resign as Prime Minister after he admitted attending a party during lockdown, a time when many people could not see their loved ones (even as some lay dying) the Cabinet (apart from Rishi Sunak) is rallying round him.
The ‘accident-prone’ Prime Minister attended the party he seemed to think was a work meeting on 20th May, 2020, for which today he ‘apologised’ in a carefully-worded statement which many have criticised as, at best ‘half-hearted’ and ‘not heartfelt’. It seems time is also being bought via an ‘independent review’. But now, even many Conservatives see Boris Johnson as a liability.
At the time of the party (alcohol was present), there were strict curbs on social mixing with non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants also closed.
In his public address/speech to the nation on 10th May, 2020, the PM had said:
It is now almost two months since the people of this country began to put up with restrictions on their freedom – your freedom – of a kind that we have never seen before in peace or war.
And you have shown the good sense to support those rules overwhelmingly.
You have put up with all the hardships of that programme of social distancing.
Over the period of the lockdown we have been in Level Four, and it is thanks to your sacrifice we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to Level Three.
And as we go everyone will have a role to play in keeping the R down.
By staying alert and following the rules.
Hmn, well, fine advice, which not all government members chose to follow. If Johnson didn’t give a monkeys about the rules, presumably that is one reason why he was so supportive when Dominic Cummings broke them?
Oh well, at least he is trending on Twitter as is Priti Patel for defending him, and the Met Police who should have investigated the breach! After all, it was only in December 2021 that we heard of London Covid rule-breakers being fined over £1 million in closed-door courts, with 2000 people prosecuted at Westminster Magistrates Court. That’s fair enough, but government ministers and old-Etonians should not be exempt from similar treatment in the courts for breaches.
It also raises the question of whether lies make for good leadership. It’s got to be a no, hasn’t it?
So, I looked for a local flavour on to see what Bude’s MP had to say about it all. I checked Scott Mann’s website and social media to see if he had some words of wisdom about recent revelations. In a word, no; he is firmly focused on local, and maybe that is fair and a good career tactic, as in his most recent newsletter, he wrote:
Clearly, the public health situation which has taken precedence for almost two years will continue to be a major issue on all our lives. I am very pleased that North Cornwall has been able to respond so well to the pandemic despite the huge ‘asks’ that have been made of the public and our businesses. It was important to me that our economy was able to restart with the minimum disruption, and in the cases where businesses did find they were in difficulty, Westminster responded appropriately … the knock-on effect of international travel being disrupted meant that Cornwall was a top destination for holidays last year. It’s clear to me from my correspondence from visitors to the area that they were extremely impressed and will be back again in future.
With more visitors to the area, one of the downsides is that our local NHS services face more pressure. I’m pleased that the NHS has confirmed that their plans to expand Bodmin Hospital into an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) remains a priority for them. The UTC will offer an enhanced service compared to what is currently on-site and will be able to deal with the majority of non-life-threatening injuries and ailments. The establishment of UTC’s is part of the NHS Long-term Plan has been successfully rolled out in other parts of the country. Please do keep checking my website and social media, where I will be updating constituents on this exciting project for North Cornwall.
Road safety is another top priority of mine, and I am pleased to see that National Highways (formally Highways England) confirmed that they are reviewing modelling to understand the baseline conditions of traffic both on the SRN and local side roads around Plusha Junction on the A30. Once they have this, they will test options to address the safety issues in that model and will also be working on those options at the same time. I am obviously in favour of anything which leads to safer roads for North Cornwall, and I will be supporting any changes to the junction which are put forward.
So, what next? Everyday, I wake up wondering if Boris Johnson will still be leading the country tomorrow. Can he escape yet again? And how will Scott Mann vote if there is a question of confidence? It is beginning to be like a long-running soap opera; sadly, this one is played out in real life.
If he goes, who will replace him? My money is on Rishi Sunak who is keeping well out of the controversy for now. Share your thoughts.