In December 2020, two students were fined £10,000 for breaching COVID rules. The first incident saw the police raid a flat party with 70 people. In the second, there were 30 people. This is broadly comparable with the number of people supposedly at the Downing Street parties. The police were quick to get on their high horse. A Detective Chief Inspector said she was “extremely disappointed”. A month later, Priti Patel announced that the police had her full-throated support. They further clarified that the fines would double for each offence. So why the f**k have the #partygate law breakers only received fines of £50?
There were at least 18 parties that we know about. Eighteen! Yet, the fines issued are less than a parking fine. The double standard is an absolute disgrace. It smacks of a stitch up. One rule for us, one rule for them.
Boris Johnson still hasn’t accepted that #Partygate broke the law
The only reasonable excuse I can think of is that this first batch of 20 fines is the low hanging fruit. That is to say that the police have moved on the simplest cases first. If this is the case, it would mean that the next batch could be much more serious. It may also explain why Boris Johnson refuses to admit the law was broken. Perhaps he is fearful that he or someone close to him is up next. Or perhaps he just doesn’t want to give any more fuel to the fire that he lied to parliament.
In fact, this seems to be the party line. This prompted a particularly awkward exchange between Kay Burley and Anne-Marie Trevelyan yesterday. Trevelyan could not bring herself to saw the words “broke the law”. After being repeatedly confronted with her own logical inconsistencies, she eventually conceded that the parties “broke the regulations”.
I am sure the irony is not lost on Kay Burley, who was hounded by Conservative commentators after her own brush with COVID laws. The difference of course is that she is not an elected representative. She also did not write the laws.
Whatever the answer Boris Johnson’s position is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Whether he is fined or not, he lied to parliament. It’s time for him to go.