Andy Richardson: 'The buck stops with Number 10'

He’s no good at eating bacon sandwiches.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

There’s also a case to be made that Ed Miliband is responsible for the mess in which his party finds itself. Had he not challenged his more popular brother, David, for the Labour leadership, Labour most likely would have returned to power. The sequence of events that led to the disaster of Jeremy Corbyn would not have happened. He owes Labour one.

He started to repay that debt when he eviscerated the shuffling, grumpy Prime Minister across the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons. Standing in for Sir Keir Starmer, Miliband felt he had right on his side as he lambasted a law-breaking Prime Minister who has offended such High Priests of Brexit as Lord Michael Howard.

BoJo’s plans to break the law, while popular with some, have been criticised by five former Prime Ministers – that’s all those still living – as well as all the Attorney Generals since 2010, except the present incumbent who calls BoJo Boss. Miliband’s destruction of Boris showed real panache. He told the PM: “What incompetence. What failure of governance. Boris Johnson can’t blame Theresa May, he can’t blame John Major, he can’t blame judges, he can’t blame civil servants, he can’t sack the Cabinet Secretary again. There’s only one person responsible – him.”

The reason Boris looked so uncomfortable was simple. It was all true. For the first time since his election, Boris looked humiliated. He was busted. Pale and uncomfortable, he was bang to rights. Truth hurts. And if the Prime Minister encourages law-breaking or law-bending, rather like Dominic Cummings did at Barnard Castle, he sets precedents for others to follow suit. From China to Iran, from Russia to North Korea, we’ll be unable to criticise others because we’ll be doing the same ourselves.

About 300,000 theatre and concert hall employees haven’t been able to work since March. Furlough ends in October. Welcome to the dole queue. Little wonder calls are growing for sector-specific support, as the Rule of Six means venues can’t trade. The show must go on – but probably not until late next year.

Test and trace, meanwhile, is on the brink of collapse. NHS staff can no longer get tested. The Government had all summer to train testers – it didn’t bother and now it doesn’t have enough. Like law-breaking and the exams fiasco, the buck stops with Number 10.

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