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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson. Photo: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, license linked below article

Terina Hine on the collapse of Boris Johnson's government following the resignations of Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid and other senior Tories

The government is collapsing. Rishi Sunak and Savid Javid, two senior Cabinet ministers have at last taken the plunge and resigned. This marks the end of the Johnson government.

Tuesday morning saw the unprecedented intervention of former top civil servant Lord Simon McDonald. The Downing Street cover-up of the Pincher affair has been the last straw. With both the civil service and media turned against the lying Prime Minister, time has run out for the deviant Johnson regime.

Once again Boris Johnson lied - to journalists, to the public, to his party and to his ministers. Tuesday’s letter from Lord Simon McDonald, former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, broke the unspoken rules of civil service etiquette. McDonald tweeted and made his letter public, directly accusing Boris Johnson of ignoring the crimes of a sexual predator and of lying about what he knew. Johnson claimed he simply forgot!

The letter also took a swipe at the media for repeating Downing Street’s “inaccurate claims” highlighting the BBC’s website for continuing to report that “No official complaints against [Mr Pincher] were ever made,” giving the BBC licence to take a more critical tone.

On the BBC’s flagship Today Programme, it was clear Chris Mason, the BBC’s political editor, had had enough. He said Lord McDonald’s letter was a “quiet demolition of No. 10’s position” and that ministers sent on the broadcast rounds were once again being given lines that immediately “crumble under scrutiny,” lines he described as “complete and utter drivel”.

We now know groper MP Chris Pincher was under formal investigation in 2019 for sexual misconduct. The investigation upheld the complaint, the PM knew this, had been briefed “in person” about the investigation and its outcome, but still saw fit to appoint Pincher as his Deputy Whip in 2022, a role with particular responsibility for overseeing and disciplining MPs’ behaviour.

Just as with partygate ministers were asked to defend the indefensible. On Monday Will Quince, MP for Colchester and a junior education minister held the line, saying he had been “given categorical assurances that the PM was not aware of any specific allegations or complaints” against Pincher. But these assurances were false. As McDonald said: “The original Number 10 line is not true and the modification is still not accurate.”

Tuesday it was gormless Dominic Raab’s turn. Early in the day he was on Sky News claiming “it’s all a rumour mill and gossip” but moments later the bombshell  letter was published and there followed car crash interview after car crash interview - on Good Morning Britain Raab found himself trying to redefine the meaning of guilty.

This is the most scandal ridden government Britain has had in decades. There have been five major sex scandals in the last three months alone and corruption is rife - from NHS-Covid contracts to second jobs and lobbying. The rot is not confined to the Tory party nor to the corridors of the Palace of Westminster. Another palace, only a mile away, is also mired by revelations of debauchery and corruption: royal sex scandals and plastic bags stuffed with money. The British establishment has gone off the rails and is at last being exposed for what it is.

The Carlton Club (the £1,700 per year private members club for the Conservative party) where Pincher’s latest abuse took place, prides itself on discretion. According to the Guardian the surprise for many of its members was not that the abuse occurred - after all there’s an area called Cad’s Corner located just off the main entrance - but that someone broke the “omertà” and reported Pincher’s behaviour. Normal procedure would be silence and cover-up. A policy apparently adopted by the Conservative party itself.

There is fury among Tory MPs and they are again submitting those no confidence letters. It appears that this time ministers at the heart of government are joining. But don’t be fooled that Javid and Sunak are honourable. They are members of the most rotten club of all, the Tory club in the Palace of Westminster, and given their positions it is unlikely they were oblivious of Pincher’s sins; it took the turning of the civil service and media to push them to act.

Tick tock Boris Johnson.

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