Over in the UK Boris Johnson and his former chief advisor Dominic Cummings have had a very public fallout. And ever since it happened there have been very public leaks of damaging information which incredibly have not as yet damaged the Conservative Party’s standing.
The allegations include some doozies. Like the claim that Johnson said just before the second Covid lockdown that they should just let the bodies pile high. Reflecting the nature of the Conservative Party there was an intense debate at the time about whether business interests should outweigh public health interests.
The Guardian provides this detail:
… Johnson’s alleged comments were supposedly made after he felt corralled into agreeing to a four-week lockdown in November, months after it was recommended by Sage scientists to curb soaring coronavirus cases. He apparently warned he would never again back another national lockdown.
There have been the usual denials from Downing Street but one gets the very strong impression that something not dissimiliar may have been said.
Another damaging leak involves the release of texts between Johnson and billionaire James Dyson who had been privately lobbying Johnson for beneficial tax changes so that Dyson’s companies could mass produce intubators. Johnson apparently told Dyson that he would sort it so that Dyson employees who travelled to the UK as part of the plan would not have to pay extra tax. Cummings has denied responsibility for the leak. There has been an unholy briefing and counter briefing campaign ever since.
A third embarrassing revelation involved a claim that tory donors were paying for a refurbishment of the living quarters at 10 Downing Street. Again from the Guardian:
Cummings said he had warned Johnson about renovations to his Downing Street flat costing a reported £58,000, for which the prime minister had allegedly sought outside funding from Conservative supporters.
He wrote: “I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended… I refused to help him organise these payments.”
Cummings said Johnson had stopped speaking to him about the issue in 2020 after he said this, adding: “I would be happy to tell the cabinet secretary or Electoral Commission what I know concerning this matter.”
Cummings has his own issues to deal with. Including a claim that he ensured that a lucrative research contract was awarded to associates of his.
He has responded by posting this post on his blog and by offering to appear as a witness in Parliament. Describing the Prime Minister’s behaviour in relation to the lockdown as “mad and totally unethical” is more than a little unusual.
Meanwhile the Conservatives are still riding high in the polls with the latest Opinium poll suggesting a 44 – 33 lead over Labour. But four out of 10 voters think that Boris Johnson and the Conservative party are corrupt. It is not easy to reconcile these findings.
This is going to spiral out of control for a while. But the United Kingdom’s recent success at suppressing Covid and rolling out the vaccines may save them. At least for now.