Simply once you thought the saga of Boris Johnson, Partygate and the Privileges Committee couldn’t get any extra tedious, we now have been gifted with a scrumptious plot twist.

Bernard Jenkin MP, a distinguished member of stated Privileges Committee, has been accused by a cracking Guido Fawkes scoop of attending a bootleg drinks social gathering in Westminster on 8 December 2020, when London was in ‘Tier 2’ lockdown.

Indoor gatherings of greater than six had been banned on the time. However this allegedly didn’t deter Dame Eleanor Laing, the deputy speaker of the Home of Commons, from throwing the do to have fun the sixty fifth birthday of her buddy, Anne Jenkin, a Conservative member of the Home of Lords and spouse of Bernard, who can be alleged to have attended.

Bernard Jenkin has stated he doesn’t recall this occasion, held on his spouse’s birthday, whereas Laing has solely conceded that she held a socially distanced ‘enterprise assembly’ the place drinks could or not have been served. Guido reckons she is reasonably underselling it, with sources describing plentiful booze, pre-prepared nibbles and a flagrant disregard for the two-metre rule.

If this seems to be true – and Jenkins or Laing could but muster up a a lot stronger rebuttal – then it will make Jenkin the newest in a really lengthy line of lockdown hypocrites. He’d be part of such illustrious firm as Neil ‘Shagger’ Ferguson, Catherine Calderwood, Margaret Ferrier, Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock, Sky’s Kay Burley, Sky’s Beth Rigby, Sir Beer Korma, these pro-lockdown Labour MPs who attended BLM demos, public-health officers who praised these demos whereas condemning anti-lockdown ones, and naturally Johnson himself. All of whom advocated for, enforced or in any other case moralised about lockdown, solely then to interrupt the foundations themselves.

In any case, Jenkin’s committee is primed to publish its damning report into Johnson, claiming the previous PM misled parliament in regards to the events in Downing Road. Regardless of not being revealed but, it has already secured Johnson’s scalp. He resigned from parliament final week, damning the committee as a ‘kangaroo courtroom’. There’s now an old clip doing the rounds on social media of Jenkin piously grilling Johnson over the events.

In 2020 and 2021, many politicians, commentators and philandering epidemiologists realized the arduous approach that should you reside by lockdown moralism you’ll be able to fairly simply die by it, too. They seemingly knew, evidenced by their very own actions, that lockdown was intolerant, inhumane and completely impractical. And but they continued to advocate for it and blast those that dared defy it.

However within the spirit of reconciliation and eventually leaving that wretched interval behind us, maybe we ought to be extra charitable. In a way, lockdown made hypocrites of us all – or no less than a sizeable chunk of us. In that authoritarian, panicked and dissent-free environment of 2020 and 2021, we had been anticipated to comply with an more and more insane algorithm, enforced by ham-handed cops and exorbitant fines, all whereas damning if not dobbing in anybody who refused to conform. Many individuals – wittingly or unwittingly – may have simply stated one factor and finished one other. Nearly a 3rd of Brits through the first lockdown admitted to breaking the foundations when polled anonymously. I’m satisfied that’s an enormous undercount. Many may have nonetheless been too fearful to inform the reality. Plus, all of us knew self-described sticklers who made exceptions to see their nearest and dearest.

So, reasonably than calling for yet one more particular person to resign – as Johnson has simply finished with Jenkin – how about we wipe the slate clear? Let’s admit lockdown was an insane upending of our civil liberties that must not ever be repeated. Let’s have an amnesty for all of the lockdown-breakers (hypocritical MPs excluded). And let’s by no means discuss ‘Partygate’ ever once more.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Observe him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

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