- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The harrowing campaign launched by the NHS and the government more than a year ago has resurfaced online as the prime minister faces growing pressure over partygate.
Boris Johnson was fined last week for breaking his own Covid lockdown rules by attending a gathering in No.10 for his birthday in June 2020.
The Met’s probe into partygate is ongoing, and so there is a chance Johnson could be issued with yet more fines for attending other social events when it was against the Covid laws.
For now, he is refusing to step down. Instead, ministers are all stepping up one by one to defend Johnson as he stays on in office despite the fine, with Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis even comparing it to a parking or speeding ticket.
As the government repeatedly tries to justify Johnson’s actions – especially as he previously told the Commons he had not broken any rules – No.10′s critics have pulled out the campaign pushed by the NHS and the government from January 2021.
The posters and accompanying video included close-ups of NHS staff and several intensely ill people wearing oxygen masks, accompanied by the words: “Look them in the eyes and tell them you’re doing all you can to stop the spread of Covid-19.”
Some of the posters had slight variations, such as: “Look her in the eyes and tell her you never bend the rules”, “look him in the eyes and tell him you always keep a safe distance,” and “look him in the eyes and tell him the risk isn’t real.”
A reminder of the advertising campaign the government launched about the importance of adhering to the rules... pic.twitter.com/CKn4R1PW8a
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) April 19, 2022
The government’s then-slogan ran across the bottom of the campaign posters: “Stay home – protect the NHS – save lives.”
The same month this campaign began, No.10 allegedly held a party for the departure of two private secretaries – this is one of the 12 gatherings currently being investigated by the police.
As ministers try to move the news away from partygate and the danger it poses to Johnson’s post, the campaign is a stark reminder of how No.10 wanted to portray the virus only last year.
As PM prepares to face MPs and ministers compare his rule breaking to a speeding or parking ticket, important to remember how things were framed at the time.
Govt told us flexing the rules at all would cost lives.
“Look her in the eyes and tell her you never bend the rules”. pic.twitter.com/oqenXRh8Oi
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) April 19, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.