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READERS’ LETTERS: Will Sue Gray speak to those who declined the No 10 drinks party invite?

Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who is leading an investigation into lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall.
Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who is leading an investigation into lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall.

Sir, – I am very interested to see the outcome of Sue Gray’s report about Boris Johnson’s parties.

There would seem to be overwhelming evidence that he and his Tory colleagues have broken the Covid regulations on a frequent basis.

Ms Gray will be interviewing people allegedly involved in order to get to the truth.

We know of the now infamous invitation that was sent to 100 Tory staff to a Downing Street party.

We know that nearly 40 of the staff did attend and drank and danced the night away.

I think it should be Ms Gray’s priority to interview the 60-plus staff who declined the invitation.

It has been reported that some of these people were surprised that a party was to be held at a time that the rest of us were in a serious Covid lockdown.

If these people recognised the party broke regulations it stands to reason that those who did attend must have known that they were not only breaking the regulations but also breaking the law by doing so.

Harry Key. Mid Street, Largoward.

Ignorance of the law is no defence, PM

Sir, – I believe more than 17,000 people have been fined after being dealt with by the police for Covid breaches.

I think they should all appeal using the defence offered by no less a person than the prime minister – that no person actually warned them that they were breaking the law.

A new defence without precedent in our criminal law system.

If it’s good enough for him it must surely be good enough for them.

Regardless of status, we do all operate under the same legal system – don’t we?

Stewart Falconer. Glenisla View, Alyth.

When will this farce come to an end?

Sir, – As a former constituent of North East Fife I was interested to note that it was the present MP, namely Wendy Chamberlain, who was asked if it was time for the prime minister to resign as the first question at Prime Minister’s Questions.

While both Ms Chamberlain and former Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie come from the opposite side of the constitutional question to myself, it is hard to disagree with them that it is time for the prime minister to resign.

Sadly, it is people like my present MP, David Duguid, that get to decide if this farce, which is almost as surreal as the Caledonia Bank sketch by the Flying Pigs, will come to an end.

That is comedy but present events at Westminster are anything but funny.

As someone on holiday from my day job delivering groceries in a 3.5 tonne van around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, if I had done any of the things either Dominic Cummings or the prime minister had done I certainly would not have a job.

What if I drove the length of Ayrshire to get someone to look after the children or the length of Aberdeen to “test my eyesight”.

Do you think if I got the length of Aberdeen in my car and did not know I could see they would allow me out in 3.5 tonne van?

Parties in May 2020? Coping with demand for online deliveries was more of a concern, finding ways to cope with the demand for essential goods did not give us time to have parties.

The prime minister goes on about how good the vaccination programme is and people coming forward for vaccination and being boosted.

Yes, prime minister, that is because, unlike you, in my opinion, they understand that it is the responsible thing to do for wider society, including people like ourselves who had a lockdown, adverse weather and exceptionally high demand to deal with in January 2021.

Thanks to the general public getting vaccinated and boosted in 2021, 2022 has had an easier start.

Peter Ovenstone. Orchard Grove, Peterhead.

Is Sturgeon guilty of double standards?

Sir, – So Nicola Sturgeon accuses Boris Johnson of pursuing “cheap, populist policies” such as freezing the BBC licence fee to distract voters from Downing St scandals.

What? This from the politician who, immediately prior to last May’s Holyrood election, promised to give away free bikes, laptops and tablets in a bid to win votes. Double standards, Ms Sturgeon – just maybe?

Martin Redfern. Melrose, Roxburghshire.

It would help if MPs spoke good English

Sir, – At least two of Boris Johnson’s parliamentary supporters have referred to his “fulsome apology” in the Commons.

Chambers Dictionary: fulsome – adj. sickeningly obsequious; nauseatingly affectionate; admiring or praiseful; excessive.

It is good to see that our members of parliament demonstrate a sound command of the English language.

Helen Lawrenson. Bay Road, Wormit.

Westminster shenanigans are just another argument for independence

Sir, – Given the chaos arising from Boris Johnson’s duplicity and incompetence it was fitting to publish a two-page spread of readers’ letters.

One stood out from the rest, the suggestion that the SNP has “gone quiet” on demanding his resignation.

The writer obviously does not watch the news or he would have seen SNP leader Ian Blackford call on Mr Johnson to resign on numerous occasions.

It is not, however, enough to get rid of an egregious leader but to get rid of what is arguably the most corrupt administration since the 1832 Reform Act, an administration which gave post-Brexit shipping contracts to a company with no ships, massive PPE contracts to personal cronies, many of them with no relevant experience, which gives party donors seats in an already overcrowded House of Lords and which undermines a professional civil service, with a long-standing reputation for being able to give impartial advice to the government of the day, by appointing special advisors (Spads) who tell the ministers what they want to hear and what to act on.

Appointing super-rich Rishi Sunak, a former employee of the notorious Goldman Sachs investment company and former partner in various Cayman Island-based hedge funds, is very unlikely to lead to a levelling-up of conditions for the majority of us.

It will take many years for Westminster to repair the damage caused both economically and reputationally and Scotland, which rejected both Brexit and the Tories, will very much suffer.

The difference in values between Westminster and Holyrood are now clear for everyone to see.

There has never been a greater need for Scottish independence.

Ken Guild. Brown Street, Broughty Ferry.

Don’t forget, the PM was elected

Sir, – There is a famous saying, dating to the 1600s, which notes “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”.

It was something that struck me given the recent antics of the prime minister.

While much attention has been clearly focused on his personal behaviour, as uneasy as it may be the fact that he was elected to the office maybe provides a moment of reflection for those who voted for and continue to support him.

Mr Johnson’s serious character flaws were well-known to everyone prior to “partygate”.

He has, for example, been sacked from a newspaper for lying in an article he wrote and as a Conservative shadow minister for lying about an affair. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and his public and private life is littered with a litany of lies he has told, all very well documented.

Yet, despite this, he was elected as leader of the Conservative Party and ultimately as prime minister with a not inconsiderable majority.

It is oft quoted that “the government you elect is the government you deserve”.

Those complicit in elevating Mr Johnson to the role of prime minister of the UK, well aware of his character, may want to take some time to pause and reflect on whether this is truly the outcome they wanted. For those in Scotland the simple question I pose is, “is this really the best we can do?”

Alex Orr. Marchmont Road, Edinburgh.

How many rules must PM break?

Sir, – Has the time come for each of us to take stock of Westminster’s moral compass and processes – are they up to the job?

The Ministerial Code is supposed to provide us, the general population, a degree of confidence that the power we have “given” to Westminster to manage our affairs is not going to be used to be abused, or used against us.

Westminster has squandered that confidence, not just over the last few weeks, but over a significant period.

There is a huge litany of breaches where the PM has been told he has broken rules and he has apologised or his party has been fined, but continued on his merry way in his term as PM.

We should remember that he had previous for his behaviour and been fired from a couple of important jobs before becoming a politician. Taking stock, there is no one above the law, and leaders should lead by example.

Many writers and commentators have been reticent about criticising high-profile or high-net-wealth individuals, due to the power they can exert to control media and legal systems. What can we in Scotland do to reclaim control? Nothing.

The 2016 EU referendum proved it. Also, comment by Jacob Rees-Mogg shows that the Westminster Government is not a British government, it is a thinly-veiled English government.

So for Scottish Conservatives the message is clear, you would have more control in an independent Scotland than you have now.

Alistair Ballantyne. Birkhill, Angus.

Tories not fit to run a tuck shop

Sir, – I don’t think we should get over-excited about the likelihood of the Right Honourable PM moving on.

Those on the shortlist to replace him apparently failed to notice that he was somewhat economical with the truth.

Being as naive as that hardly recommends any of them as fit to run the school tuck shop let alone the country.

Des Mahon. Golf Street, Ladybank.

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