By Charlie Kimber
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2790

Met police moves to blunt revelations of Boris Johnson’s crimes

It's a corrupt cover-up by one arm of the state supporting the political leadership.
Issue 2790
Boris Johnson rubs his hands as hme meets RAF personnel

Johnson visited RAF Valley in north Wales last week (Pic: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street on Flickr)

The Metropolitan Police has made sure that Boris Johnson will be given the greatest possible chance to escape from his lies and hypocrisy.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray—appointed by Johnson—is investigating the parties during lockdown in Downing Street and other government departments. Her findings could provide crucial confirmation that Johnson and his coterie contemptuously refused to keep to the rules they were imposing on everyone else. 

They were partying while ordinary people could not visit their dying relatives. They were gathering in their dozens while people were fined for sitting together on a park bench. 

But last week the Met said Gray’s inquiry can be published only if it holds back anything but minimalmention of alleged criminal events.

If an event broke no rules, the Met is quite content for everyone to read about it. But if the gathering might have broken the law, then it will be cut from anything made public until criminal investigations are complete. That might take months.

The manoeuvre means that details of half of the 17 parties that Gray is looking at will not be reported on in detail. It is a corrupt cover-up by one arm of the state supporting the political leadership.

The Met, and in particular its head Cressida Dick, has gone through tortuous attempts to avoid nailing Johnson. 

At first it said it did not investigate Covid crimes retrospectively, although it was still prosecuting ordinary people for alleged lockdown breaches. 

Then it said there was insufficient evidence to proceed over the Downing Street parties despite the photos and the eyewitness accounts screaming from newspaper headlines and television reports. 

Next the Met said it would wait to see what came from Gray’s report, an extraordinary outsourcing of justice to an investigation of a boss carried out by someone appointed by that same boss.

Then in an about-turn the Met said Gray had found evidence—which presumably the cops weren’t capable of discovering—so there would now be an investigation. This has now been used to say that Gray must not publish her evidence as it could be an obstacle to the Met’s inquiries.

Dick, who previously worked for the MI6 secret service, could not have protected Johnson better if it had been an establishment conspiracy. 

Johnson’s attempted escape route is clear. One element is for the Tories to warmonger and strut around eastern Europe while they delay any further damning revelations. They hope everyone will forget about his crimes, but there is as yet little sign of that happening.

A YouGov poll last week showed 62 percent of those polled said he should resign including about half of those who voted Conservative in 2019.

When Gray’s truncated report does appear, whatever it says, ministers will be pushed out to the media to say it has cleared Johnson. They will claim he had been right in all the “big calls”.

But the most important decision he made was about the timing of lockdowns and protection from the pandemic. Here his pro-profit agenda meant tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. That’s his real record., 

In addition there will be “new policies” that will seek to shift the agenda. The 400-page Levelling Up White Paper is due to be published in the middle of next week, with Michael Gove in the spotlight. It might not fulfil Johnson’s plan.

One Tory minister who was allowed to look at it in advance said, “They took away my phone but I couldn’t see anything worth taking a picture of to be honest.”

But the greatest long-term problem for Johnson is not just the Tory backbenchers but the acceleration of the cost of living crisis. Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed in the Sunday Times that they are pressing ahead with the national insurance rise that will hit most workers’ wages from April.  

And there is no serious action to deal with the rise in energy bills. Regulator Ofgem is expected to announce on 7 February that the cap which limits how much the privatised firms can change will rise from £1,277 a year to around £2,000.

Poverty is already rampant. An online grocery store called Flava is offering buy now, pay later credit to families without credit checks for products from Kellogg’s Coco Pops to Pot Noodle. 

A major clash should now be coming to defend and extend benefits, workers’ wages and price controls and to reverse privatisation.

But Labour and the union leaders organise no real action. Every strike, every campaign that does take place now is more important than ever.

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance