‘Unbelievable’: Barwell joins chorus of condemnation for PM

Tory grandees, and Gavin Barwell, have begun to turn on Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his and his wife’s attendance at what The Times was today describing as a “boozy shindig” in the Downing Street garden during the first covid lockdown.

Liar: Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The latest revelations, including an emailed invitation to 100 Downing Street staffers in May 2020, was broadcast last night by ITV News and offers incontrovertible evidence that while the nation tried to obey the rules to avoid the spread of the deadly virus, Johnson and his lackeys behaved as if they were above the very laws which they had just enacted. Chin! Chin!

Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservative leader, was the latest senior Tory to turn on the prime minister this morning when she said he did not need an official inquiry to confirm whether he attended the event that was organised by Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary.

She added that the public were “rightly furious” at the new revelations, which bring the total number of Downing Street parties being investigated to at least six.

This, according to one Westminster source, “Makes the Conservatives the party party Party.”

Party, party, party: the rule-breaking party scandal has been going on for more than six weeks now

The source added, “I don’t get to go to that many parties in a normal year, never mind during covid lockdowns.” The source resolved to do something about their social life, and urgently.

But the usual Omerta that is expected in the cause of party loyalty is clearly breaking down among Conservatives, increasingly embarrassed by Johnson’s repeated law-breaking, lies and public schoolboy smirks when questioned.

Barwell, the former Conservative MP for Croydon Central and now a member of the House of Lords who worked as Theresa May’s chief of staff in Downing Street, was abrupt when he reacted to the ITV News story last night.

“Unbelievable,” Barwell tweeted. “And yet, in another sense, sadly all too believable.”

Barwell knows Johnson well, having collaborated with him when they were respectively MP and Mayor of London and they forced through a deal to impose Westfield on Croydon town centre.

Barwell has also written extensively over Johnson’s self-serving conduct when PM May was desperately trying to cobble together an agreement over Brexit, while being undermined by her own party.

This morning, commenting further on the latest scandal to hit Johnson’s No10, “Lord” Barwell echoed Baroness Davidson when he wrote, “Let me put this politely: it is not entirely clear why the Prime Minister needs to wait for Sue Gray’s report to find out if he went to a party in his own garden.”

By lunchtime today, that tweet had attracted 48,000 “likes”.

48,000 likes: Gavin Barwell has rarely been so popular

At the time of the Downing Street party – which occurred just before Johnson’s then chief of staff, Dominic Cummings, drove from London to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight… – the rest of us were only allowed to meet one person outside of our household in an outdoor, public place, and all while staying two metres apart.

That instruction was delivered by government minister Oliver Dowden at a covid press conference in Downing Street on the very same day as the party.

The email leaked to ITV News shows this was a social gathering organised explicitly for the purpose of making “the most of the lovely weather” with attendees encouraged to “bring your own booze”. Which is nice.

Much like the WhatsApp messages that Johnson said he’d forgotten about sending, until they were found by the Electoral Commission, the PM is now claiming to need an official investigation to say whether he attended a rule-breaking bash.

Only last month, Johnson was claiming that he was “sickened” and “furious” over the parties scandal.

Diary check: Labour’s Sarah Jones was today seeking official records of the PM’s engagements from last May

In the Commons this lunchtime, after Labour had tabled an urgent question over the latest Johnson scandal, Conservative MPs seemed markedly reluctant to speak up for their leader.

This was one little party which Johnson failed to show up for.

Sarah Jones, who won the Croydon Central seat for Labour from Barwell in 2017, mentioned that 923 of her constituents had written to her about the cover-up over Cummings’ law-breaking Barnard Castle excursion. Jones asked the Paymaster General to publish the Prime Minister’s list of engagements from May 20, 2020 – the date of the latest party.

Last night, around the time that the news of the party broke, Jones made this comment on social media: “How any of them thought this wouldn’t come out eventually is beyond me.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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8 Responses to ‘Unbelievable’: Barwell joins chorus of condemnation for PM

  1. What a contrast today, one noble rat offered a posthumous Dicken medal for finding land mines and a less Noble rat (who has his own questions to answer over neglect and tragedy of Grenfell Tower) has ratted on the Chief rat.

    No doubt Theresa May will be pleased.

  2. John Harvey says:

    Anyone see Laura Farris on Politicslive?

    Best morning after choice that the Tories had to defend Boris but looked like a 15 year old who had been caught snogging the gym mistress. Emily Thornberry put on a maternal face and let Farris fumble her way through as anything else would have caused comments about kicking a puppy.

    This Government is indefensible

  3. Congratulations – IC’s managed to get two of its prime targets together in the same piece in this utterly shocking report. What we need to know is what, exactly, were they drinking in this INDEFENSIBLE booze-up? And who brought what? Can we see the INCONTROVERTIBLE evidence? This loyal reader, for one, demands answers.

    • Oh do keep up, Christopher. The emailed invitation to the party, incontrovertible evidence, as sent to100 Downing Street staffers, was plastered all over the telly box last night and is in every national newspaper, and across their websites, today. Both Barwell and Jones overtweeted the ITV News story, which includes a picture of the invite.

      And no, we don’t need to know what was drunk or who paid for what. They were breaking the law by having any sort of gathering involving more than two people.

  4. Lewis White says:

    If Lord Gavin carries on like this, could the next step be to become a wielder of the sword of truth– rather like the knight in the Daily Express’s “crusader logo”?

    Or maybe more like a latterday Sir Gawain, who accepted (just after Christmas time) the challenge set by a mystery visitor to a New Year’s Eve revel at Camelot, the Green Knight, who invites –as a jolly Christmas jape– the assembled knights to try to cut off his head. A successful decapitation would be rewarded by the GK with a future prize of a sword). Sir G accepts the challenge, strikes, and almost severs the GK’s neck ! But not quite.

    Unfortunately the Green Knight — who seems a jolly sort of chap, rather in the mould of our own PM– laughs and puts his own head back on ! The Medieval romance goes on — Wikepedia gives a very useful synopsis.

    A year later, after a series of moral trials, involving resisting the temptations of the Lord of the Castle’s gorgeous wife, Sir G ends up passing the Green Knight’s tests, who reveals himself to be the Lord of the castle ! The GK goes out of his way to pronounce Sir G, as a totally top chap, and they part on cordial terms !

    Could this in fact be the shape of things to come– or, to pluck a useful phrase from a post-Medieval author, the story of Christmas future ?

  5. Peter Underwood says:

    An ex-politician in Scotland and an ex-MP from Croydon speak out against current Prime Minister (for which they deserve some credit). Meanwhile the current MP for Croydon South, the current Conservative Councillors, and the current Conservative candidate for Mayor of Croydon say absolutely nothing.

    The longer they remain silent is a measure of how little respect they have for the people of Croydon who did follow the lockdown rules, who didn’t go to parties, and who sacrificed a lot to keep each other safe.

    Boris Johnson and his fellow senior Conservatives have shown themselves to be liars, crooks, and disrespectful of British people, traditions, and institutions. If local Conservatives are not willing to condemn that behaviour then we have to assume that they are just the same.

  6. I can’t decide if Boris Johnson is a pathological liar or a compulsive liar?

    I read somewhere he presents all the characteristics of ‘pseudologia fantastica’ which is the chronic behavior of compulsive or habitual lying.

    I’m unsure which it is but I do know he shouldn’t be the Prime Minister of this country.

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