In the last few hours two cases have emerged that of course are not very new cases. However these two cases include very strong criticism of people led by the Prime Minister. In addition there was a visit 10 days ago yesterday to Boris Johnson by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family. This visit led to a very clear reference to how he as the Foreign Minister had made a statement at the time which increased the prospect of Iran remaining her in prison. The image that the ITV has published in the last few hours is from an event that he took part in on 13th November 2020. As this piece in ITV makes clear, he took place in a gathering in honour of the Downing Street’s then Director of Communications Lee Cain, with eight people pictured standing closely together, as well as the photographer.
So two and a half weeks later on the 1st of December 2020 there was a debate in the House of Commons under the headline of Public Health and one of the Conservative MPs who was nearly the Prime Minister, Andrea Leadsom asked him
What assessment has the Prime Minister done of compliance with previous lockdowns? Does he share my concern that people have just had enough and that the risk of non-compliance is very great, and that those who are compliant will then have the added frustration of watching those who will not comply doing whatever they want while they have to sit at home?
I normally find myself in agreement with my right hon. Friend, but I must say that I do not think she is right in this instance. If we look at what the British people have achieved in the past few weeks by following the guidance, and by deciding to work together to get the R down, they have done just that. Collectively, the people of this country have got the R back down below 1. That was not by non-compliance—it was by the people of this country deciding to follow the rules, do it together, and get the virus down.
And a year later on the 1st of December 2021 during the Prime Minister Questions he was asked this by Keir Starmer and his answer was very clear.
As millions of people were locked down last year, was a Christmas party thrown in Downing Street for dozens of people on 18 December?
What I can tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman is that all guidance was followed completely in No. 10. May I recommend that he does the same with his own Christmas party, which is advertised for 15 December and to which, unaccountably, he has failed to invite the deputy Leader of the Opposition?
This morning SKY has published a piece under the headline of “‘Serious failures’ of Afghanistan evacuation lowered UK’s global standing – damning report calls for Foreign Office boss to resign” which was produced by Alix Culbertson. It includes the following text
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the committee, said those failures have had “huge implications” for the UK as it inspired Vladimir Putin and others “to think that we weren’t serious” – which “allowed him to believe that he could attack Ukraine without us reacting”.
The committee has called for the head of the Foreign Office, Sir Philip Barton, to resign over the leadership failures that lead to Afghans who were Taliban targets to be left behind during Operation Pitting.
They also said they believe Boris Johnson played a “greater role” in some decisions – including the evacuation of the NOWZAD charity’s animals and staff – than has been admitted, due to the lack of “plausible alternative explanation”.
So if we take these three cases that have become public in the last 10 days, surely now is the time for the Government to review its leadership and indeed for the Conservative Party to review its leadership?