Related video: Boris Johnson's full statement after Sue Gray report
We know we don’t need to tell you that the Tories are fairly disaster prone, but if there’s one week where we need to recap all of the nonsense put out there by Conservative Party politicians, then this would be the week to do it.
The elephant – or rather, party – in the room was the Sue Gray report, which landed in the middle of this week and had MPs falling over themselves defending the prime minister like they had one Stella Artois too many.
Add to that a couple of social media mishaps and questionable spending in the middle of a cost of living crisis and you have the worst things the Tories have done this week.
Keep reading, if you dare.
1. The prime minister allegedly referred to himself as 'Fuhrer'
Oh, if you thought we were starting off light, then you’d be very much mistaken.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday on the day of the full Sue Gray report, the former Vote Leave mastermind wrote: “He [Johnson] doesn’t think he did anything wrong, as he said repeatedly in 2020: ‘everyone better remember I’m the f***ing Führer around here’.”
\u201cHe doesn't think he did anything wrong, as he said repeatedly in 2020 'Everyone better remember I'm the fucking Fuhrer around here' \n#RegimeChange\u201d
Just a quick reminder that the term was used by Hitler to describe his fascist dictatorship in Nazi Germany, just so you know how absolutely shocking such an allegation is.
Indy100 has contacted Downing Street for comment.
2. The Sue Gray report
Like some kind of political Christmas present, senior civil servant Sue Gray published her full report into alleged Downing Street parties during lockdown on Wednesday, in which she slammed “failures of leadership and judgement” from the top dogs.
Some of the many findings of the investigation – which we’ve broken down in a separate article for your convenience – were that “one individual was sick” after excessive alcohol consumption, while two other individuals had a “minor altercation”.
Ms Gray also reported she was alerted to “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff”, which she described as “unacceptable”.
Oh, and there were pictures, too.
Following the report’s publication, Mr Johnson took “full responsibility” for the events and that it was time for the country to “move on”.
As if it were that simple.
3. Grant Shapps still tried to defend the indefensible with the most baffling response to Partygate yet
“The question was, was he down there partying? No, clearly not.
“He’d gone by to say thanks and raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving.
“I don’t think these things should have happened, but I think it’s probably worth recalling in context that throughout this period the prime minister himself had been extremely ill, had a close brush with coronavirus, he lost his mum during the period [and] he was dealing with the pandemic,” Mr Shapps said.
Well, so were NHS and care staff, transport secretary, and they sure as heck couldn’t party.
4. Grant Shapps’ Department for Transport spent thousands learning how to juggle
And if his nonsense on Partygate wasn’t enough, it was revealed Mr Shapps’ department had spent more than £2,000 on a session where DfT staff learned “how to juggle as one team, passing the juggling ball onto the next person while receiving a juggling ball from your other side”.
Another session surrounding a “mini Mexican railway” required participants to “construct a contraption that can carry a ball from one end of the room to the other”.
It was a session which formed more than £18,000 in taxpayers’ money.
A DfT spokesperson defended the spending, saying “we value our staff” and that “training days help develop new skills and build high-performing teams”.
While Mr Shapps himself assured LBC’s Nick Ferrari that “it won’t happen again”.
5. Boris Johnson lost his temper with a journalist
Because nothing fills you with confidence more than witnessing the most powerful person in the country having a go at an independent journalist for doing their job, and holding the prime minister accountable.
Following up on her initial question to the prime minister during a press conference on the Sue Gray report, Sky News’ Beth Rigby asked: “Was there any point where you thought about [resigning] though, during any of it?”
Mr Johnson wasn’t happy. “Why are only you allowed to come back, Beth,” he fumed, “are you in some sort of special position?”
Nope, other journalists followed up too, as Ms Rigby pointed out in response.
“OK, forgive me,” he replied, before attempting to answer the new question.
Well, that’s the thing, prime minister: after Partygate, many of the public haven’t.
6. Suella Braverman went off on one about flags, Lenin and Corbyn
And the PM wasn’t the only Tory to crack under scrutiny, as Suella Braverman, the attorney general, delivered a bizarre rant when she was questioned on the Northern Ireland protocol by her Labour counterpart, Emily Thornberry.
The shadow attorney general asked Ms Braverman: “The attorney general has said again today that there is a longstanding convention that prevents her discussing either the fact or the content of her legal advice on the Northern Ireland protocol, which makes it all the more remarkable that on Wednesday 11 May, The Times newspaper and BBC Newsnight not only disclosed the fact of her legal advice, but actually quoted from its contents.
“So, can I ask the attorney general one very straightforward question which only requires a yes or no answer: did she personally authorise the briefings to The Times and to Newsnight regarding her advice on the protocol? Yes, or no?”
Being faced with something as simple as a yes or no question, the cabinet minister instead opted for some attack lines on Ms Thornberry instead.
She replied: “I love the United Kingdom; the right honourable lady is embarrassed by our flag. I’m proud of the leadership that the United Kingdom has demonstrated, and [Thornberry] wants us to be run by Brussels and wants to scrap Trident.
“My heroes are Churchill and Thatcher, hers are Lenin and Corbyn.”
7. Rishi Sunak failed to admit a u-turn on a windfall tax on energy companies
Amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, there had been calls for the government to introduce a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms - Labour being one organisation which demanded ministers take the step.
“The new levy will be charged on profits of oil and gas companies at a rate of 25 per cent.
“It will be temporary and when oil and gas prices return to historically more normal levels the levy will be phased out,” Mr Sunak said, adding the move would “help families with the cost of living”.
However, rather than concede that Labour had forced a government u-turn, the chancellor decided to give the windfall tax a new name entirely – a “temporary targeted energy profits levy”.
8. ‘Beer Korma’
And another unusual nickname emerged this week, when Boris Johnson tried to deflect some of the heat from Partygate onto Keir Starmer by calling him “Sir Beer Korma”.
Referring to the Labour leader being under police investigation for a beer-and-curry gathering in April last year – at which Sir Keir has stressed he is “absolutely clear” no rules were broken – Mr Johnson said: “Sir Beer Korma is currently failing to hold himself to the same high standards that he demanded of me.
“He called for me to resign when the when the investigation began. Why is he in his place?”
“He is still there and so is the shadow deputy leader. I apologised when the revelations emerged.
Johnson added: "I continue to apologise, I repeat that I am humbled by what has happened and we instituted profound changes throughout Number 10. But I think in view of the mess that he has found himself in, it would now be a sensible thing for him too to apologise so that we can all collectively move on.
“That I think is what the people of this country want to see above all."
You have to despair when the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, appears to have an awful grasp of what works on TikTok – as two of her posts on the video platform went viral this week for all the wrong reasons.
\u201cNadine Dorries raps about the Online Safety Bill on TikTok (2022)\u201d
— insane moments in british politics (@insane moments in british politics)
It started off bad, and it only got worse. “The UK is passing some new legislation,” she said, “to make the internet safer for a younger generation.”
The minister continued: “It’s effectively a framework to protect internet users… from scams, illegal content and anonymous abusers.
“It will force big tech to stop their terms being breached, and puts in measures to protect free speech.”
Addressing the main concern around the bill, that it could “impact freedom of expression”, she said there’s “legal protections in the 19th section”.
Bit of a stretch there.
Ms Dorries went on to add: “Another thing we’re doing through the laws we’re passing… is tackling online crime and cyber-flashing.
“If companies fail to comply with the law, and fail to protect the users that they’re responsible for… the regulator Ofcom will have the platform to fine, so platforms must keep people safe online.”
And if that wasn’t painful enough, she did a literal mic drop at the end of it all.
10. Boris Johnson changes the ministerial code
If he wasn't already in enough hot water, Johnson decided to jump headfirst into another inferno, after it was revealed on Friday that he had amended rules which mean that ministers will not have to resign if they are found to have breached the code of conduct.
Instead, they could just apologise or lose their pay but remain as a member of parliament regardless. It has also been reported that the foreward for the ministerial code has been rewritten to remove any reference to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.
The prime minister is also said to have blocked his own ethics chief, Christopher Geidt from obtaining any power to launch his own investigations.
This latest move has been widely criticised with SNP MP Mhairi Black highlighting that this was the sort of thing she spoke about last week when she gave a speech about the government 'sleepwalking' to fascism.
\u201cThis is the sleepwalking I was talking about.\u201d
— Mhairi Black MP\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Mhairi Black MP\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08)
Thank God it’s the weekend.
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