OPINION - No 10: The most Covid-fined building in Britain?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

They are the words every parent fears. Your darling child abruptly stands up in front of several seated guests at the dinner table and declares: “Mum, Dad, when I grow up, I want to be Governor of Illinois.”

Four of the last 10 occupiers of that office have ended up serving jail time. This is in fact an improvement on a few years ago when the statistic was a more impressive-sounding four in seven.

I thought of this for some reason as the news broke today that the number of partygate fines issued by the Metropolitan Police has doubled to more than 100. As a result, it is entirely feasible that Number 10 Downing Street is the most fined building in Britain for breaking Covid laws.

While the Prime Minister himself is understood not to have received another fixed penalty notice, as the Standard’s parliamentary team points out, this latest tranche is likely to reinforce accusations that Boris Johnson presided over a culture which led to this sort of behaviour. Indeed, that is what the interim Sue Gray report concluded.

Coming several days after Keir Starmer’s promise to resign if he is fined by Durham Police for a post-campaigning beer and curry, the response from the Labour Party has been somewhat muted.

But if anything, it serves to make the comparison between the two starker. A fine for Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner would be a seismic event, given their pledges. But the incidents could hardly be more different in terms of scale.

Rules in Downing Street were being broken in heroic numbers, stemming from the building’s culture and a failure of leadership. It is difficult not to conclude that we are comparing apples and, well, curry.

Incidentally, had this story not broken, I’d have written about the economy contracting and a potential trade war with the EU. None of the alternatives are good, either.

Elsewhere in the paper, Sadiq Khan has defended a City Hall review of cannabis laws that could lead to the legalisation of the class B drug.

In the comment pages, Rupert Harrison says ignore the doomsayers, our economy isn’t going to hell in a handcart. While Morgan Schondelmeier, director of operations at the Adam Smith Institute, thinks Sadiq Khan’s cannabis legalisation call is on the money.

And finally, look down at your feet, frown, and then go and buy some Elizabeth Line socks and other merch (furniture, handbags, masks). You’ll be the envy of commuters everywhere and pretty soon this will be the main way TfL is funded.

This article appears in our newsletter, West End Final – delivered 4pm daily – bringing you the very best of the paper, from culture and comment to features and sport. Sign up here.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting