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Matt Hancock

The government is once again facing criticism for its rather broad interpretation of Covid laws.

Boris Johnson has admitted he popped out into his garden where staff were gathered for an organised drinks event in May 2020, though said he was only there for a short while and thought it was a work event.

The public is furious and even members of Johnson’s own party are calling for him to go, but this is only the latest example of potential rule-breaking from our government.

Here are the three most notable times government officials have appeared to embody a ‘one rule for them and another rule for us’ mentality.

Dominic Cummings

Cummings gives a statement from No 10\u2019s rose garden in May (POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In May 2020, while people obeyed lockdown one, the former chief advisor to the PM drove from London to his parent’s house in Durham while he and his wife had coronavirus symptoms. He said he was concerned he too would fall ill and would become unable to look after his children.

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During the visit, it was also revealed he drove to Barnard Castle to see if he was well enough to make the trip back south and after a public outcry, with many saying he was breaking the strict ‘stay at home’ rules, he attempted to defend himself at a press conference.

Matt Hancock

Perhaps the most... visually memorable incident of rule breaking happened when CCTV footage and stills showed the then health secretary Matt Hancock kissing his aide Gina Colangelo in May 2021.

If you don’t remember May 2021, this was a time in which people were still asked to socially distance from other people.

Given Hancock broke his own social distancing rules, he resigned.

Downing Street parties

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming under pressure to quit over allegations he attended a coronavirus lockdown-busting \u201cbring your own booze\u201d party in the Downing Street garden (Peter Cziborra/Reuters/Pool)PA Wire

It has been alleged that there were a number of social gatherings and parties held in Downing Street throughout lockdown.

Pictures of staff including Johnson enjoying wine and cheese in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 were downplayed as a work meeting, while it is also said that there were a number of parties over the Christmas period in 2020 involving prohibited indoor mixing - even a quiz.

The reporting of these parties has led to the downfall of Allegra Stratton - after footage emerged of her planning how to respond to press questions about parties - and Shaun Bailey, who attended a soiree in December 2020 organised by his mayoral campaign team.

And when it was found that there may have been gatherings in Simon Case’s office - who was the civil servant charged with investigating these parties - he stepped down

Recently, the government came under fire after a leaked email proved that senior civil servant Martin Reynolds organised a garden drinks event when the general public were only allowed to meet one on one.

Johnson admitted he attended the event and apologised, but claimed he thought it was a work event and leader of the Labour party, Keir Starmer duly called for his resignation in a savage edition of PMQs.

Then, it was revealed that there may have been two parties on 16th April 2021, the night before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral, and when the country was in step two of the lockdown roadmap - meaning no indoor mixing, and the rule of six should be followed by everyone when gathering outside.

You can read about the rest of the ‘parties’ here.

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