GOVERNMENTS are supposed to be lawmakers, not lawbreakers.
In the run-up to Christmas last year, the Prime Minister, Conservative MPs, staff members and journalists held several parties at Number 10 despite pandemic restrictions.
They have not been punished. And the police are saying they won’t investigate.
Yet in Coventry and Warwickshire, 5,000 people have been fined for breaking the rules in the last 20 months.
A bar in Leamington was fined £10,000 for having a gathering. About 200 Warwick University students have been fined for various breaches. And another pub landlord was fined £1,000.
All the while, businesses were forced to close, and residents of Warwick and Leamington were prevented from seeing their dying loved ones.
We could not spend time with family or friends at Christmas and the vast majority of us accepted measures in the hope lives would be saved.
But this Government – which set the rules – broke them shamelessly and then laughed about it. But they’re laughing at you and me.
It is now clear to the public that the rules and restrictions are for us to follow, but not for them.
And still they keep up the festive charade, denying parties took place – despite photos emerging of staff members partying with no social distancing and the Prime Minister himself convening a Christmas quiz.
According to the press we should expect many more revelations.
We need the names of those who attended these parties, and we need punishment and accountability.
They’re taking us – the public – as fools.
And the pandemic is far from over. Unfortunately, the situation is extremely serious once more.
The public’s lack of confidence in the Prime Minister and his party is now seriously undermining desperately important public health messaging.
With the rise of the new Omicron Covid variant we must come together in our communities and as a nation once more to minimise disruption and prevent loss of life.
Omicron infections are now doubling every two to three days, and the NHS is facing unprecedented risk of being overwhelmed.
It seems the new strain is much more transmissible and will lead to far higher hospitalisations.
Worst-case-scenario London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modelling predicts the number of hospitalisations could dwarf the rates seen already during the pandemic – and that there could be up to 75,000 Omicron deaths by May.
And, as with anything in science, it is better to be safe than sorry. Look what happened last time when our government was too optimistic (or wilfully ignorant).
Labour supports the government drive to deliver a vaccine booster jab to as many people in the UK as possible.
It is thought a vaccine booster can provide around 70 to 75 per cent protection against serious illness from Omicron, early data suggests.
Getting your booster is still the most effective way we can prevent people becoming seriously ill with Omicron and I hope as many of you as possible take steps to protect yourself and your families over Christmas.
But we must also see other measures introduced such as increased sick pay to help people isolate, support for families facing a cost-of-living crisis and proper income support for individuals hit by cuts to Universal Credit or forced eviction.
And it is also time for the Prime Minister to consider whether he is up to the job – and whether he still has the trust of the public.
I have been saying for some time, he is totally unfit office – and the longer he’s been in the role the more apparent it has become.
We have the worst possible Prime Minister at the worst possible time.