DAN WOOTTON: Tories would be nuts if they play into the hands of Labour and dump Boris

Faith in democracy was restored with Boris Johnson’s landslide election and smashing of Labour’s Red Wall in 2019.

After three years of the liberal elite, the biased BBC and rest of the Europhile broadcast media, and the establishment blob trying to pervert the biggest democratic mandate in British history for Brexit, it was a sign that we the people had proudly and forcefully taken back control.

Just like the referendum itself, none of those stuck in the Westminster bubble saw the election result coming, which made it even more sweet and satisfying.

What I’ve seen this past month is an opportunity for the bitter and twisted political and media establishment to take revenge.

And that’s why I urge serious caution when it comes to interpreting the partial publication of Sue Gray’s Partygate findings today, especially to the wavering Tory MPs thinking of delivering letters of no confidence in the PM to the 1922 Committee.

Has my faith in Boris Johnson been shaken to the core these past two years? Of course.

Pictured: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ‘sorry’ in the House of Commons today after being hit with damning revelations in the Sue Gray report that examined the Partygate scandal

Am I disappointed with his interfering wife Carrie and her ragtag bunch of toffs and socialites knocking back bubbly in Number 10 while we were forced to cower alone in our homes? Absolutely.

Should heads roll in order to ensure Downing Street is put under control and transformed into a slick and professional operation? They must.

But does the seriousness of this scandal reach the threshold where we should consider undermining democracy again by booting out a popular Prime Minister who secured a landslide majority from office just as he leads us out of a devastating pandemic? Absolutely not.

The ‘gatherings’ – I would call them boozy work-dos – were a gross act of mistrust to those of us who put our physical and mental health on the line to follow draconian and, as it turned out, nonsensical restrictions on our God-given freedoms.

As Gray wrote, the Johnson government ‘put in place far-reaching restrictions on citizens that had direct and material impact on their lives, livelihood and liberties’.

After interviews with over 70 individuals about events over a 20-month period, she found ‘tight knit groups of officials and advisers’ working ‘long hours’ in ‘difficult conditions’ failed to live up to the ‘standards expected of the entire British population at the time’ as a culture of excessive drinking appeared to take hold.

Sue Gray (pictured) has today finally delivered her findings on Partygate to the PM - but made clear she wants to release more information after the police probe by the Met is complete

Sue Gray (pictured) has today finally delivered her findings on Partygate to the PM – but made clear she wants to release more information after the police probe by the Met is complete

She concluded: ‘It seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public. 

‘There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of Number 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.

‘Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.’

Of course it’s a disgrace that the people who made the rules didn’t follow them. But I wish there was more analysis of why those rules should NEVER have been enforced by law in the first place.

The disturbing propaganda campaign and dire threats of legal action against normal citizens if we decided to make decisions about our own movements were nothing short of inhumane and I hope in the years to come will be rightly condemned.

But you’ll see none of that perspective in the political and media reaction to today’s Gray report.

What you’ll see is blind hysteria that the PM simply must go. They scent blood and they’re not going to stop until they have Boris’ head.

In fact, Labour MP Angela Eagle had the cheek to declare in the House today that ‘every person in the country’ wants the PM to resign.

She doesn’t speak for me and millions of us who feel let down by Boris, for a raft of reasons, but believe the only people to benefit from him resigning due to Partygate would be the Labour party and SNP, who are fully prepared to form the coalition from hell that would spell the end of the United Kingdom as we know and love it.

The sight of a typically inarticulate Angela Rayner barely able to stumble through her immediate call for Boris to resign on multiple TV channels this afternoon should make any sane individual shudder at the prospect of her as Deputy Prime Minister.

In a virtually impossible situation today due to the minuscule nature of the limited Gray report, Boris got a lot right.

His use of the word ‘sorry’ was significant and necessary.

This is a bloke who hasn’t apologised for the most egregious acts of disloyalty in his social life.

‘I get it – and I will fix it,’ he vowed.

The Gray report

The Gray report

As Gray wrote in her report (pictured), the Government ‘put in place far-reaching restrictions on citizens that had direct and material impact on their lives, livelihood and liberties’

He was also right that saying sorry today alone is not enough; a serious and immediate reset of policy and approach is necessary if he hopes to survive beyond the May elections.

Boris declared: ‘I want to say to the people of this country: I know what the issue is, it’s whether this government can be trusted to deliver and I say: Yes we can be trusted to deliver.’

Can he though? Given that this weekend Boris refused to listen to those calling for him to return to his true blue manifesto pledges and scrap plans for a £12 billion cash grab with his diabolical 1.25 per cent National Insurance hike in April, just as the cost of living and inflation crisis is expected to bite, there is reason to doubt him.

Lord Frost – his only Cabinet minister with the balls to resign over the introduction of Plan BS restrictions – has now ruled out a return to shape up Number 10, as a result of the PM’s intransigence over tax.

Frost wrote today: ‘I believe policy change is needed if the Government is going to succeed. In particular, I don’t support the decision this weekend to proceed with tax increases, so obviously I could not return to help implement it.’

While Boris can restructure his Number 10 operation and the Cabinet Office, he obviously can’t fire his wife, no matter how tempting he may find it at times.

The PM was flanked by deputy Dominic Raab and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for today's statement

The PM was flanked by deputy Dominic Raab and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for today’s statement

Given the number of scandals and unpopular decisions with Carrie’s fingerprints all over, is it any wonder some of the PM’s key allies joke of finding her a charity ambassadorship that would involve weeks of international travel to stop her butting into crucial business?

But there is a personal onus now on Boris to ensure Carrie focuses on his personal life only and leaves the politics to the person who was elected.

How mortifying are the reports Carrie held A Winner Takes It All party, where the brilliant Abba was pumped from the Number 11 flat, as she celebrated seeing off her rival for the PM’s affection Dominic Cummings.

If police take action, that’s one ‘work event’ from which Boris cannot distance himself.

How short-sighted was such warfare on Mad Dog Dom. Did Carrie REALLY think such a devilish figure hellbent on personal revenge was going to slink off onto the sunset and leave her husband alone?

But the biggest villain in this entire damaging farce is Cressida Dick who caused the farcical non-release from Gray today and has refused the opportunity for the country to discover the truth and then move on.

The Met Commissioner’s dithering has turned out to be anti-democratic and damaging.

Boris should have sacked her long ago.

Intriguingly, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was one of the only Tory frontbenchers to stay muzzled in a mask today, as he sat next to the PM.

I have no idea why. Maybe so as not to expose his insincerity while supporting his boss, since Sunak has only given Boris the most lukewarm support since the scandal broke, damning him with faint praise.

The fact he wants to keep wearing a virtue-signalling dirty cloth mask when the rules no longer say he must makes me even more concerned about the prospect of Dishy Rishi as PM.

Sunak and every Tory MP should realise the risk of becoming a country where we depose Prime Ministers at the slightest hint of scandal let an arrogant left-wing broadcast media determine when a leader must go rather than the voters.

As Red Wall standard-bearer, the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, put it today: ‘The nonsense of what’s happening within the parliamentary party is so infuriating.

‘If they vote to get rid of Boris they’ll be voting to lose the next election…If Boris is removed, the opportunity before us to rebalance our economy and society will be lost. Even worse, the levelling up agenda would be dead.’

While under a torrent of attacks from MPs today, Boris said the government’s top three priorities are fixing the cost of living crisis, rebuilding the economy and clearing the NHS backlog.

If he adds cutting taxes and overturning the Coronavirus Act while abolishing the prospect of future lockdowns as policy priorities, Boris would have an agenda I could get excited about again.

If only the media was as interested in these issues as it is with cake we would have a stronger democracy.

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