While it may utterly shock and dismay Britons to discover that politicians and appointees can be venal hypocrites, the ongoing government coronavirus response has shown a propensity towards behaviour that the uncharitable might describe as rules for thee, not for me.
While the public missed weddings, funerals, being with their partners during births, visiting dying relatives, birthdays, first years at university and much, much more, behind closed doors some rule-makers carried on much as they had always done.
With a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown looming in the New Year, here are ten times our politicians broke the rules they imposed on the rest of the country.
— 27th March and 12th April 2020: The Barnard Castle Eye test —
The former chief advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings — who has taken a very clear position that lockdowns are essential and haven’t gone far enough — made a splash when his own cross-country trek was perceived as having broken lockdown rules he pushed to implement.
The political fixer was initially caught driving 260 miles from London to County Durham with his family during the first coronavirus lockdown, after his wife started displaying coronavirus symptoms on the 27th of March 2020. The Covid rules at the time stated that those who tested positive or had symptoms of coronavirus had to isolate at home for at least two weeks.
The second breach came on the 12th of April when Cummings and his family visited the historic market town of Barnard Castle. Barnard Castle is located 30 miles from his parents’ house, which meant Cummings would have potentially breached lockdown travel guidelines at the time, which restricted leaving the home for ‘non-essential’ activities. Cummings insisted that he only took the trip to test his eyesight, which he claimed was damaged by coronavirus.
When called out by the press and asked to apologise, Cummings said he did not “regret” his actions.
Mr Cummings reportedly helped to draft the government’s “Stay Home” message at the time, and played a key role in developing the government’s initial coronavirus rules and strategy.
Boris Johnson refused to sack his aide over both potential breaches of the coronavirus guidelines, saying Cummings “acted responsibly and legally and with integrity”.
Delingpole: Lockdowns Were Inspired by the CCP, admits Professor Pantsdown https://t.co/1Bdz6J5HOa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 27, 2020
— 6th May 2020: Professor lockdown becomes Professor Pantsdown —
Lockdown king and government advisor Professor Neil Ferguson resigned from his government role after it was exposed in the press that he was breaking the restrictions he helped create, all so he could continue to visit his married mistress.
Ferguson lived in his family home with his wife, not with his left-wing activist mistress, meaning he not only broke his marital vows, he also broke the restrictions in place during Britain’s first lockdown.
Scotland Yard said at the time that Professor Ferguson’s behaviour was “plainly disappointing” but the police “do not intend to take any further action”. Ferguson has declined to apologise for the rule breaking, instead choosing to complain about harassment from the press.
The affair earned Ferguson — until then known as Professor Lockdown for his doomsday-style research which was among the most influential in government circles in pushing for harsh restrictions — the nickname ‘Professor Pantsdown’.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary at the time, branded Ferguson “extraordinary” and said that he “took the right decision to resign”. Speaking of Matt Hancock…
BREAKING: Matt Hancock Resigns as Health Secretary After Being Caught Kissing Aide https://t.co/blouzCLQb5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2021
— 6th May 2021: What a Hancock-up —
Following Hancock’s condemnation and branding of Professor Neil Ferguson’s affair as “extraordinary” and that it was “just not possible” for Ferguson to continue advising the government, Matt Hancock was also caught with his pants down.
In a CCTV footage image-grab leaked to the Sun, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock was seen kissing and groping his aide Gina Coladangelo in a Department of Health office, breaching social distancing guidelines, as indoor hugging was still banned at the time.
Indeed, the fact the government had at times outlawed sex between non-cohabiting couples as part of their draconian virus lockdown intensified the feeling that Hancock — who then appeared on television daily to urge the public to avoid seeing each other — was a spectacular hypocrite.
Both Hancock and Coladangelo were in separate marriages and each had three children with their spouses.
After an initial reluctance, Hancock resigned as Health Secretary after the affair was exposed, and left his wife for Ms Coladangelo.
As of yet, the former Health Secretary has faced no criminal charges.
One MP at the time just before Hancock’s resignation said: “It just doesn’t sit right. I thought that the moment I heard about it. It’s not that we don’t make mistakes in our personal lives, but it’s very difficult if the minister telling people they can’t visit their grandparents or go to sports days is then found snogging his non-executive director in the office.”
— 6th June 2020: BLM Immune from Coronavirus —
Labour MP Dawn Butler broke the national lockdown to push the marxist ‘Black Lives Matter’ agenda by leading a rally at Roundwood Park, in the London Borough of Brent. This protest potentially broke the government’s ‘rule of six’ which only permitted people to meet outside in groups of up to six people.
The police allowed this protest to happen undisturbed, despite physically breaking up and arresting individuals who attended other protests in 2020.
Butler later took to Twitter and tried to defend her actions by attacking the Conservative government: “I say to Johnson and the Govt: don’t you dare try to shift the blame onto protesters if there’s a second COVID-19 peak!”.
While Butler is not technically a member of the government, her political party has loyally backed the government’s lockdown restrictions since their inception, making them quite complicit in their implication.
Interestingly, Butler actually voted against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act on the 30th of September 2020, but not because she opposed locking the country down, but rather because the laws as written were not woke enough. Offering an alternative, Butler wrote a Bill for Parliament which included a more ‘woke’ approach to locking down the country – this however did not gain significant traction in Parliament.
I’m proud to see people coming together in solidarity to march against injustice and say #BlackLivesMatter.
But I say to Johnson and the Govt: don’t you dare try to shift the blame onto protesters if there’s a second #COVID19 peak!
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾💙 (@DawnButlerBrent) June 6, 2020
— 14th December 2020: Christmas Party at Tory HQ —
On the 14th of December 2020, while the rest of the country was prohibited from having work Xmas parties, it was not a silent night in the brains of the Tory Party, the Conservative Campaigning Headquarters (CCHQ).
A year later on the 14th of December 2021 an image emerged in the Mirror showing 24 Conservative staffers, donors and politicians crowded in a room at what appears to be a party in the Conservatives’ Westminster base. Some individuals pictured were wearing Christmas hats, holding wine glasses and one wore a House of Commons novelty Christmas jumper, alongside a buffet spread.
The event took place when London was in Tier 2 which meant inter-household mixing was banned at the time.
The publishing of this image prompted the resignation of the Conservatives’ 2021 London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey who was pictured grinning in the photo.
— 25h December 2020: A Corbyn for Christmas —
On Christmas Day 2020 former Labour leader, radical socialist, and terrorist sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn was caught breaching COVID restrictions after welcoming his brother Piers into his home for a video where they discussed whether Covid is being used ‘as a cover to privatise the NHS’. London was in Tier 4 at the time, which meant that households were prohibited from mixing with each other.
Vaccine-sceptic and anti-lockdown activist Piers Corbyn made headlines recently where he was arrested after footage emerged on social media in which he apparently called for people to “burn down” the offices of pro-lockdown politicians.
The Christmas scandal was the second time Jeremy Corbyn was caught out. In October 2020 Corbyn was forced to publicly apologise after being pictured in the press having dinner with eight other people, breaking the government’s coronavirus “rule of six” that was in place at the time.
Like Dawn Butler, Corbyn is not in government, but he was an MP for the Labour Party at the time of their support of the Coronavirus Act and did not publicly speak out against it. Corbyn did not vote against the vote on extending the Coronavirus Act on 30th September 2020.
Noel Gallagher: ‘F*** Jeremy Corbyn. He’s a Communist’
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 1, 2017
— 27th November and 18th December 2020: 2 Government Parties —
Corbyn wasn’t, however, the only one to engage in Christmas shenanigans, with Number 10 allegedly having at least two parties alongside their CCHQ bash.
The first, held on the 27th of November 2020 was a leaving do for a Number 10 staff member, at which Boris Johnson allegedly gave a speech. This took place during the second lockdown, where household mixing was banned in most situations.
The second on the 18th of December 2020 was a Christmas Party attended by 40-50 Downing Street staffers when London was in Tier 3, meaning inter-household mixing was banned. A Christmas Quiz hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson also allegedly took place.
The party was exposed in the press nearly a year later and a leaked recording surfaced showing Boris Johnson’s former press secretary, Allegra Stratton and other staffers, joking about the alleged gathering, just four days after the event took place.
This revelation prompted Ms Stratton’s resignation.
Vaccine Minister Nazhim Zahawi insisted that the Christmas quiz was not in fact a party as there was “no alcohol” at the event.
— 18th December 2020: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Breaks Own Rules —
After a funeral on the 18th of December Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was caught breaking her own mask mandate.
Sturgeon was pictured in The Scottish Sun standing chatting to three older ladies in a pub without a mask, while her rules demanded that customers in a hospitality setting unless seated must wear a mask.
Sturgeon was forced to give a grovelling apology in the Scottish Parliament saying, “This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry”.
This apology did not, however, stop her from continuously implementing restrictions on the people of Scotland. Most recently, Sturgeon’s party – the leftist separatist Scottish National Party – has essentially cancelled New Year for Scots and deeply damaged their hospitality industry by closing nightclubs and placing a ban on more than three households meeting at venues that serve alcohol.
Exclusive: The SNP is Pushing Hate Crime Laws to Target Political Rivals, Says Reclaim Candidate Leo Kearse https://t.co/6eO4iM7eG5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 5, 2021
— 28th September 2021: Khan’s Mask Hypocrisy —
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan was pictured at the Royal Albert Hall for the James Bond ‘No Time To Die’ premiere on the 28th of September 2021, having a ball of a time mixing with London’s and Hollywood’s elite.
Throughout the event, Khan posed for multiple photos in crowded rooms and on the red carpet, but noticeably his face mask was absent. The whiff of hypocrisy attended the actions of the hardcore mask-fan, and indeed less than two months later reintroduced his toughest-in-Britain mask policy on the London tube, entailing those who don’t wear a mask are to be fined £200. On the 30th of November, the first day this rule was implemented, 152 Londoners received the £200 penalty.
Khan has been an avid mask advocate throughout the pandemic. On the 18th of September — just ten days before the Premiere he attended — Khan tweeted out: “If we don’t wear masks, the virus will spread further. It’s as simple as that. My mask protects you, your mask protects me – and face coverings remain compulsory on all Transport for London services”.
Clearly, this advice excludes elite soirees.
If we don’t wear masks, the virus will spread further. It's as simple as that.
My mask protects you, your mask protects me – and face coverings remain compulsory on all Transport for London services.pic.twitter.com/HqAMAtF8vA
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) September 18, 2021
— May 2020: Winegate —
‘Winegate’ – the latest embarrassment for the British government.
The Guardian released an image that depicted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and up to 17 staffers enjoying cheese and wine in Number 10’s garden in May 2020 – at a time where work meetings were only allowed if “absolutely necessary”.
This gathering took place while the country was in lockdown, with lockdown rules only permitting two people from different households to mix socially, and even then only when outdoors and two metres apart.
Similar events held by members of the public were condemned by the government, broken up by the police and fines were issued.
The Scottish National Party (SNP), branded the event a “sleaze and wine” party and called again for an investigation into the government’s alleged multiple breaches of lockdown rules.
The government on the other hand have insisted that it was a work meeting, and that it is not uncommon for them to drink wine during meetings.
Rules for thee, but not for me. Happy New Year!