Harrogate Lib Dem leader hits out at Boris Johnson for 'double standards'

As the fallout over the Sue Gray report on Downing Street and the 'partygate' revelations continue, Harrogate's Lib Dem leader has hit out at what she claims are the Prime Minister's 'double standards'.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 5:36 pm
Coun Pat Marsh, leader of the Lib Dem opposition party on Harrogate Borough Council, said there appeared to be one rule for the public and another for Boris Johnson.
Coun Pat Marsh, leader of the Lib Dem opposition party on Harrogate Borough Council, said there appeared to be one rule for the public and another for Boris Johnson.

Reacting to the latest revelations, Coun Pat Marsh, leader of the Lib Dem opposition party on Harrogate Borough Council, said there appeared to be one rule for the public and another for Boris Johnson.

“At the heart of this issue is a basic sense of inequity, the feeling that, when it mattered, there was one rule for citizens generally but another rule, or no rules, for the prime minister and his circle,” said Coun Marsh.

“We need the Prime Minister to commit to publishing the full report once the Met Police investigations have concluded.

“For the police even to be involved means they believe there were grounds to suspect “serious and flagrant” breaches of the law.”

A limited 12-page version of the long-awaited 'partygate' report by top civil servant Sue Gray released earlier this week said gatherings at Downing Street during lockdown showed a "serious failure" of leadership and were "difficult to justify".

Supported by evidence garnered in the course of Sue Gray's report, the Met Police is now investigating 12 gatherings at No 10 during periods of Covid restrictions for potential breaches of regulations.

But the Government has refused to comment on new reports today of even more lockdown parties Mr Johnson is alleged to have attended.

Last night saw Tory MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney in Suffolk, became the latest Tory to formally call for the PM to resign.

Today he was joined by senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood who said Boris Johnson had lost his backing and he would be submitting a letter of no confidence to the party's 1922 Committee.

Boris Johnson and 'Partygate' report: What Coun Pat Marsh, leader of the Lib Dem opposition party on Harrogate Borough Council, said in full

"For weeks we've been told to "wait for Sue Gray" but as soon as her report landed it was clear that judgement day was delayed.

"Sue Gray’s released report runs to just 12 pages long – with fewer than 500 words of findings into No 10 and Whitehall parties during lockdown.

"In the report Sue Gray said there was a "serious failure" to observe the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government.

"We now need the Prime Minister to commit to publishing the full report once the Met Police investigations have concluded.

"For the police even to be involved means they believe there were grounds to suspect “serious and flagrant” breaches of the law. This must be impacting on the standing of our Country in the wider world.

"Although the report criticises “failures of leadership”, it makes very little mention of Johnson himself, and does not say whose leadership failed.

"Gray does hint at a general boozy culture in Downing Street, saying: “The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.

"Steps must be taken to ensure that every government department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.”

"At the heart of this issue is a basic sense of inequity, the feeling that, when it mattered, there was one rule for citizens generally but another rule, or no rules, for the prime minister and his circle.

"This is not what we expect of those in high office and especially the Leader of our Country who actually announced the rules we were all being asked to follow."