What a joke. Even now as the latest mealy-mouthed apology stumbles out of one side of his mouth, a new set of deflections and distortions pour from the other.
But the damage is already done.
The public have made up their mind.
They don’t believe a word the Prime Minister says.
They know what he is.
As ever with this Prime Minister those close to him find themselves ruined and the institutions he vows to protect damaged.
Good ministers forced to walk away from public service.
The Chancellor’s career up in flames.
And the Leader of the Scottish Conservatives rendered pathetic.
For all those unfamiliar with this Prime Minister’s career.
This isn’t some fixable glitch in the system.
It’s the whole point.
It’s what he does.
It’s who he is.
He knows he’s dishonest and incapable of changing.
So he drags everybody else down with him.
The more people debase themselves, parroting his absurd defences, the more the public will believe all politicians are the same.
All as bad as each other.
And that suits this Prime Minister just fine.
Some members opposite seem oblivious to the Prime Minister’s game.
Some know what he’s up to but are too weak to act.
But others are gleefully playing the part the Prime Minister cast for them.
A minister on the radio this morning saying it’s the same as a speeding ticket.
No it’s not.
No one has ever broken down in tears because they couldn’t drive faster than 20mph outside a school.
Don’t insult the public with this nonsense.
But Mr Speaker, as it happens the last Minister who got a speeding ticket and then lied about it ended up in prison and I know because I prosecuted him.
And last week we were treated to a grotesque spectacle.
One of the Prime Minister’s loyal supporters accusing teachers and nurses of drinking in the staff room through lockdown.
Members opposite can associate themselves with that if they want.
But those of us who take pride in our NHS workers, our teachers and every other key worker who got us through those dark days will never forget their contempt.
Plenty didn’t agree with every rule the Prime Minister wrote.
But they followed them nonetheless because in this country we respect others, we put the greater good above narrow self-interest and we understand that the rules apply to all of us.
This morning, I spoke to John Robinson, a constituent for the Member for Lichfield, I want to tell his story.
When his wife died of Covid, John and his family obeyed the Prime Minister’s rules.
He didn’t see her in hospital, he didn’t hold her hand as she died.
Their daughters and grandchildren drove 100 miles up the motorway, clutching a letter from the funeral director in case they were questioned by the police.
They didn’t have a service in the church, John’s son-in-law stayed away because he would have been the forbidden seventh mourner.
Doesn’t the Prime Minister realise that John would have given the world to hold his dying wife’s hand, even if it was just for nine minutes?
But he didn’t.
Because he followed the Prime Minister’s rules.
Rules that we now know the Prime Minister blithely, repeatedly and deliberately ignored.
After months of insulting excuses, today’s half-hearted apology will never be enough for John Robinson.
If the Prime Minister had any respect for John and the millions like him who sacrificed everything to follow the rules he’d resign.
But he won’t.
Because he doesn’t respect John.
He doesn’t respect the sacrifice of the British public.
He is a man without shame.
Looking past the Member for Lichfield and the nodding dogs in the cabinet.
There are many decent, honourable members on the benches opposite.
Who do respect John Robinson.
Who do respect the British public.
They know the damage the Prime Minister is doing.
They know things can’t go on as they are.
And they know it is their responsibility to bring an end to this shameful chapter.
Today I urge them once again.
Don’t follow in the slipstream of an out of touch, out of control Prime Minister.
Put their conscience first, put their country first, put John Robinson first and remove the Prime Minister from office.
Bring decency, honesty and integrity back into our politics.
And stop the denigration of everything that this country stands for.Keir Starmer – HoC, 19th April 2022