One law for everyone

Nobody is above the law and the same rules should apply to everyone.

During the covid pandemic I, and I believe most people in Britain including most members of the Conservative party, did our best to keep to the rules on social distancing and trying to beat the virus. I attended no social gatherings when they were banned, and kept to the rules when we were allowed to meet people only under strict conditions.

The rules were meant to apply to everyone and it is not acceptable that prominent people did not think they had to obey them, whether those individuals were part of government, members of any political party, prominent people in the media, or scientists who had helped to draw up the rules. It was incredibly annoying when we found out that some of the very people in Downing Street who were involved in creating those rules did not obey the rules themselves.

I fully share the exasperation which many people will have felt when it emerged two years ago that there had been a Christmas party for members of the London Mayoral campaign team in CCHQ on 14th December 2020 - not during a full lockdown, but nevertheless while restrictions were in place - which clearly should not have happened.

This has hit public attention again in the last couple of days when a video of the event surfaced at the weekend after being given to the Mirror.

I agree with Grant Shapps who called this "disgraceful" when the story first came out and with Michael Gove who said yesterday that it was "indefensible" and he was right to apologise on behalf of the party. 

It is worth pointing out that action was taken when the story first came out. Shaun Bailey, who was present and whose campaign team organised the event, apologised and resigned as chair of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Prevention panel. I understand that four people at the party were disciplined by the Conservative party at the time.

The event was investigated by the Metropolitan Police in 2021-2. At that stage the Met concluded that there was not enough evidence to “disprove the version of events provided by attendees,” to a standard of proof required to bring any prosecutions.

I do not know how long the Mirror has been sitting on this video, but whoever had it at the time that the Met previously investigated the event, if they didn't share it with the police then, they should have.

I can only reiterate that there can only be one law and it applies to everyone. Nobody is above the rules and if we do not understand that, we are nothing. 


Gary Bullivant said…
“disprove the version of events provided by attendees,” points to the possibility that the offence here is more about upholding the rule of law than punishing retrospective breach of temporary public health regulations.
Chris Whiteside said…
You may well be right. The rule of law must be upheld, whoever is at fault.

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