BEST FOR BRITAIN'S
We’re (predictably) back again on this Friday like every
other. But while our updates may be a reassuring constant, it’s
impossible to be certain what each week in politics will
This week, of course, has been
tumultuous for our Government - so we’re here to take you through the
rocky happenings bit by bit. Sit back, relax and soak in the
It’s finally out…the long-awaited
Sue Gray report into Downing Street’s lockdown parties was released this week,
As expected it contains
shocking details about law-breaking taking place at the heart of
Government over the pandemic - and Gray comes to the conclusion that
this culture of disregard for the rules came right from the top. The
report found that:
rules were broken at number of parties in Downing Street
parties were planned days in advance and even after warnings of a
'substantial comms risk'
event which finished after 3am involved a fight and one attendee being
sick. At another, attendees had use of a karaoke machine
and custodial staff were treated poorly and with a lack of
uncomfortable with the rule-breaking felt unable to raise their
leadership at Number 10 were responsible for the culture of
It is clear that those at the head
of the Downing Street operation were central to the rule-breaking that
took place - made worse by the fact that they were also the
Our social media team asked
people on Twitter to share their lockdown memories from June
2020 - and the contrast
between our respondents’ behaviour and that of the Government makes
for sobering reading. Do also take a moment to watch the team’s
latest Tik Tok on the subject.
The PM offered up a mealy-mouthed half-apology in the wake of the report, continuing to
insist he hadn’t known he was breaking the rules. He looks set on
staying, and while some Conservatives are clearly angry at the Prime Minister, others seem
to help him cling to power.
We (obviously) think this
Government needs to go - but as Tory MPs won’t do the right thing,
we’re asking our supporters to get behind our campaign to get
progressive parties to work together to oust this Government at the
next election - our polling shows that this is the safest strategy for removing this
So please sign our petition and
show your solidarity here.
Further fallout from partygate is
the threat of legal action against the Met
The Met is to face a judicial
review over the “apparent
failure of the Metropolitan Police to adequately investigate or
investigate at all the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s participation in
three unlawful gatherings held at 10 Downing Street …”
This is largely because photo
evidence has been released of Johnson at events for which he has not
been fined - and it seems that he was not even given a questionnaire
regarding his presence. The sense that Johnson is being let off
lightly is difficult to ignore.
In another piece of uncomfortable
news involving politicians and the police, news has emerged that Neil Basu, once tipped for the top job
at the National Crime Agency, is out of the running after an alleged
intervention by Downing Street.
In something like déjà vu
(anyone remember the chair of Ofcom debacle?) the Government has appeared to
intervene in the selection process for this job, in an attempt to see
their preferred candidate, Bernard Hogan-Howe, appointed
Hogan-Howe is an open supporter
of Boris Johnson, while Neil Basu has been more openly critical of
policing practices. It seems the Government would prefer to appoint a
cheerleader rather than someone who could actually drive change, but
that’s hardly surprising judging by their track record.
Windfall by another
In better news for the Government,
this week, Sunak announced his highly original ‘temporary, targeted energy profits levy’ -
to alleviate the cost of living crisis.
His proposal wasn’t fooling
anyone though - it was taken straight from Labour. As Shadow
Chancellor Rachel Reeves pointed out, Labour first called for a windfall
tax on excess oil and gas
profits nearly five months ago. And it’s taken up till now for the
Chancellor to finally acknowledge the benefits of implementing one.
Always decisive in times of crisis it seems.
Oil and gas profits have surged
in recent months, and there is broad agreement that this is the right
thing to do when so many people are struggling with the soaring cost
of living. However, many understandably say this announcement has come
far too late and are asking if it was coincidence that the policy was
announced hot on the heels of yet another government scandal. Also
problematic are the increased food costs that people are shelling out
for - a problem partly caused by global supply disruptions but
seriously exacerbated by Brexit. How does the Chancellor plan to sort that
This week saw the Public Order Bill
introduced into the House of Commons. This Bill essentially replicates
a lot of the content that was kicked out of the Police, Crime,
Sentencing and Courts Bill in the last Parliament.
That content was kicked out
because it was only introduced late in the Bill in the House of Lords,
and so when the Lords voted against it, rules dictated that those
provisions could not be reintroduced by the Commons.
But now that this Bill
commences in the Commons (where the Government enjoys its huge
majority), it is sadly likely to pass into law.
In an excellent article, Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy poured scorn on the Government for
beginning this Parliament (when people are under huge pressures from
soaring energy prices and a cost of living crisis) with a Bill that
blatantly seeks to quash dissent.
Under this proposed
legislation, as Ribeiro-Addy points out, the types of protest that won
women the vote more than a hundred years ago would be outlawed. The
Bill will also allow for the Government to target individual
protestors and will expand the use of stop and search, a draconian
power that we know has little beneficial effect and often serves to
Yes he really did say
This week, like most others, the
Conservatives are having to contend with a scandal - and I’m not just
talking about partygate.
Last weekend, it was revealed
that a Conservative council candidate had posted a deeply disturbing tweet regarding how ‘girls’ smell at different
ages. He described girls between the ages of 16 and 22 as having a
‘creamy, buttery, slightly
sweet smell that is unbelievably magnetic.’ He said that this was in
contrast to the smell of a ‘girl’ aged 28 (though he didn’t offer more
This blatant (and super creepy)
objectification of women and girls comes against a disturbing backdrop
of sexual harassment scandals and highlights the rampant misogyny
which seems to often go unchecked in our governing party.
Fit for a
It was the moment all train
enthusiasts had been waiting for for *checks watch* FOUR
The Elizabeth Line (also known
as Crossrail) finally opened its central arm on Tuesday.
Railfans were indeed out in
force, with hundreds queuing at Paddington and Abbey Wood
stations on either end of
the line for several hours before the first train departed at 6.33 am.
Commuters too (maybe less enthusiastic about early morning travel)
will also benefit greatly from this new, super-efficient
All the jubilation couldn’t
hide the fact that many were deeply disapproving of the extra time and budget the project had eaten up.
This didn’t stop the Queen
paying a visit to Paddington Station though, as she took
in the completed trainline.
It’s also (obviously) an even
bigger week for the Queen next week as she celebrates her Platinum
Jubilee - expect street parties galore and let’s keep our fingers
crossed for good weather over our four-day weekend.
The week in
Our friends at We Are Cognitive put together a weekly animation covering
what’s been happening in the news. Make sure you check out what
they’re doing each Friday.
We love the news nuggets they
manage to include - who knew that scallops love disco lights?
For something a little
slower-paced, but still hugely interesting, we’re recommending you
take five minutes out of your weekend to read this Guardian interview with Martin Lewis, founder of the site
Money Saving Expert.
In it, he shines a stark light
on the cost of living crisis and on his increasing clout when it comes
to topics concerning social issues.
It’s remarkable, and slightly
depressing, to chart how Lewis has gone from helping you get the best
deal on a new car or oven, to offering practical survival guides to
millions weathering the energy crisis - but it shows clearly how this
Government has presided over a shocking fall in our standards of
Definitely do read
That’s all from us this week -
have a lovely weekend!
Senior Campaigns and Policy Officer, Best for Britain
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