Dear Mr James Daly, Conservative MP for Bury North,
I have ‘bitten my lip’ for some 24 hours before starting to write to you. As I have mentioned before, I know I am one of your “regular correspondents” but just as for the Owen Paterson affair, I trust your mailbox is overflowing with indignation. Also as for the Paterson affair, kindly spare me the party line on this.
We now have convicted criminals holding the offices of prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer. Boris Johnson is refusing to resign as prime minister because he “has work to do”. Pardon my cynicism and anger, but presumably this work must include continuing to mislead the House of Commons, destroying Britain’s reputation for solidity and pragmatism abroad, and overseeing some of the highest covid death rates and ‘long covid’ instances in the world.
I would be most interested to hear if, as a criminal defence solicitor, you ever instructed learned counsel to advance defences such as “Your Lordship, my client admits to the charges of robbery and grievous bodily harm but he has work to do” or “My client themselves penned the leading authority on financial fraud but they were unaware of the law in this area”? If these defences were accepted it would make a mockery of the very principle of criminal justice and of the rule of law. Yet with a prime minister who has misled the House and refuses to either recall parliament to correct the record or resign (both of which the Ministerial Code requires), we now have a leading Western nation that is seemingly intent on treading this path.
The parade of utterly unconvincing Conservative party defences of Boris Johnson being fined for breaking covid lockdown laws (the same laws that Johnson himself wrote, and indeed the same laws that Boris Johnson defended in a public reply to a young girl voluntarily postponing her birthday party [you really can’t make this stuff up!] during lockdown) seem to me to amount to “Of course Boris Johnson is too stupid to follow the simple rules he himself wrote, but we can’t replace him because everybody else is even stupider!”
Boris Johnson purged the Conservative party of talent shortly after he assumed the leadership. This now comes back to haunt both the party and the country. If the Conservative party cannot produce a suitable successor to Boris Johnson then perhaps it can do the next decent thing and dissolve Parliament so that the country as a whole can choose a suitable successor instead.