‘Undermining our democracy’ Tory MPs must stop backing ‘narcissistic’ PM, Campbell erupts

Partygate: Alastair Campbell hits out at ‘narcissism’

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The former Downing Street director of communications under Tony Blair slammed the Tory rhetoric over rule-breaking. He said it was creating a country where “the rule of law is not an inviolable principle” anymore and telling the truth from the dispatch box at Parliament is “no longer a principle of our constitution”. He claimed if the public were to move on from the partygate allegations, “we can say goodbye to the kind of democratic system we have”. 

Mr Campbell told Sky News’s Kay Burley: “Well if we quote-unquote move on as these Tory MPs keep saying, we now live in a country where the rule of law is not an inviolable principle in Parliament. 

“Where it is no longer a principle of our constitution that a Prime Minister, or any minister, should stand at the dispatch box and tell the truth. 

“And if they inadvertently don’t tell the truth, they don’t have to correct the record. 

“And that says to me that these Tory MPs who are now propping up [Mr Johnson] are undermining our democracy to an extent I don’t think we’ve ever seen. 

“So, I think if we move on, we can say goodbye to the kind of democratic system that we have, and for what? For one guy’s vanity and narcissism.” 

The comments follow renewed attention towards the Prime Minister over the Partygate scandal as photos emerged of him on Monday drinking and socialising during lockdown. 

And this morning Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, said that junior members of staff in Downing Street feel they have been “hung out to dry” over the scandal. 

He said junior members of staff in Downing Street are now telling the story in their own words about the lockdown events and “that is quite damaging for the Prime Minister”.

Lord Kerslake said: “There is no doubt that senior civil servants, if they are aware of these parties and allowed them to happen, or even participated in them, are responsible and should be held to account.

“The clear and most significant responsibility lies with the Prime Minister. It is his house, it’s his office.

“What I pick up is a huge amount of anger amongst the junior staff, who feel they are being hung out to dry.

“They cooperated with the Sue Gray inquiry; that evidence then went to the police. They have been given fines and they do not feel like they are being properly supported.”

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On the allegations of lying to Parliament, he added: “[Mr Johnson] gave every impression that there wasn’t a party. He gave every impression that there was nothing to see here, and now I think it is pretty clear that he misled Parliament. I think it is pretty clear that he misled intentionally.”

Tory ministers have made a number of excuses on behalf of Mr Johnson over his alleged rule-breaking during lockdown. 

Yesterday, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the PM “did not recognise that as a party”, referring to the images of him toasting colleagues with a glass of alcohol. 

Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns had to walk back his defence of Mr Johnson earlier this year after he claimed the PM had been “ambushed with cake” on his 56th birthday in June 2020. 

The actions of Mr Johnson also prompted former PM Theresa May to ask her successor in Commons: “Either my right honourable had not read the rules, or he did not understand the rules, or he didn’t think the rules applied to No 10. Which was it?” 

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