Labour’s ‘one rule for them, another for everyone else’ line is back

Sienna Rodgers
© Pippa Fowles/No 10 Downing Street
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Labour’s ‘one rule for them, another for everyone else’ line is back. Lobby journalists had to endure a particularly painful post-PMQs huddle yesterday. This is when those with parliamentary passes gather round in the press gallery to collectively question the spokespeople from both main parties on the issues of the day – with varying degrees of success. You can check out my write-up of what we got from Keir Starmer’s spokesperson here. As for the Tories…

Did the Downing Street parties at Christmas last year take place? “We don’t recognise this account,” came the response from Boris Johnson’s press secretary. What does that mean? What don’t you recognise? “We don’t recognise this report and Covid rules have been followed at all times.” Are the reports false or do you just not want to talk about them? “We’re just saying we don’t recognise these reports.” And on and on it goes. Wednesday’s session was especially torturous but most of them are like this. Adam Bienkov has transcribed the whole thing to expose the absurdity for everyone to see.

As Starmer pointed out at PMQs, either the parties took place (which is not actually being denied) or no rules were broken. Both can’t be true. The Conservatives might think they can get away with this behaviour, but anyone who made sacrifices last Christmas – whether simply missing out on a big family day after a difficult year, or not being able to say goodbye to a loved one dying in hospital – will be reminded of a most toxic aspect of the Tories: extreme entitlement.

Residents of Old Bexley and Sidcup in south-east London will go to the polls today to vote in the by-election triggered by the death of ex-minister James Brokenshire. Labour’s candidate, Daniel Francis, has told The Telegraph that Starmer’s reshuffle gave the party a boost this week. But he faces a whopping 19,000 Conservative majority. Labour sources have stressed that this is a safe Tory seat and played down the idea that Labour has any chance of winning it – that is a highly, highly unlikely prospect. Cutting down the Tory majority is the goal here, preferably thanks not only to apathetic Conservatives not turning out but also to switchers.

Good luck to Daniel Francis – and if you’d like to help get out the vote for Labour, here are the details. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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