"I just want to say the most important thing is that those (MPs) who break the rules must be investigated and should be punished."

Boris Johnson

November 10, 2021

Facts

Boris Johnson said that MPs who break the rules should be punished. His remarks were made a few days after he had ordered Conservative MPs to vote for a parliament amendment which would have saved Owen Paterson, a Tory MP who had been lacerated by Parliament’s standards committee for committing an “egregious” breach of the rules - and torn up the parliamentary standards system.

Most recently, his government has been accused of hosting a series of parties at Downing Street over the Christmas period. An image showing Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and up to 17 staff in the Downing Street garden with what appears to be cheese and wine in May last year, as the whole country was in lockdown, was released by The Guardian.

At the time social mixing between households was limited to two people, who could only meet outdoors and at a distance of at least two metres. In workplaces, the guidance said in-person meetings should only take place if “absolutely necessary”.

Meanwhile, earlier in December, the Electoral Commission found that the Conservative Party had broken electoral law over the funding of Johnson’s flat refurbishment. 

“Our investigation into the Conservative Party found that the laws around the reporting and recording of donations were not followed,” said Louise Edwards, director of regulation – announcing a £17,800 fine.

Verdict 

Boris Johnson’s claim that those who break the rules “should be punished” is hollow. His remark forms part of a pattern of behaviour.  Johnson, his ministers and advisers make regular pious declarations about the need to observe rules of conduct which they themselves have no intention of observing.

Here is an example of Boris saying it’s common sense for people in confined spaces to wear a face mask. Here is Michael Gove insisting that transparency lies at the heart of the Johnson government. Here is Priti Patel taking a stand against bullying.  Here is Priti Patel supporting the freedom to protest.  Here is the Downing Street Press Secretary insisting that the Johnson government observes the Nolan Principles.  Here is Jacob Rees Mogg asserting that the UK always stands up for human rights. 

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