MP COLUMN: Boris’s apology in the House was excruciating to watch

It has now been confirmed that the Prime Minster and Chancellor have both been fined for attending parties in Downing Street during the Covid lockdown, which finally verifies what we always knew – that the Prime Minister broke his own lockdown rules and lied to the public about it.

By Ian Lavery, Wansbeck MP
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:47 pm
Protesters outside Downing Street this week, after Boris Johnson was fined for attending lockdown parties.
Protesters outside Downing Street this week, after Boris Johnson was fined for attending lockdown parties.

If this does not make you angry, then I don’t know what will. I can only imagine what key workers are feeling at this news, many of whom literally risked their lives to keep the country on its feet when we needed them most.

His performance in the House of Commons this week defending his behaviour was excruciating to watch. Make no mistake, the Prime Minister is only apologising because he got caught and would have carried on lying about attending parties if he thought he could still get away with it.

Yet as deplorable as his behaviour is, we cannot let it distract us from the policy failures from this government that are set to throw thousands more people below the poverty line up and down the country – including here in Wansbeck.

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I have been warning for months now that unless the government did something soon, then the cost of living crisis would lead to people choosing between heating and eating and we are now beginning to see this happen.

The cost of living is becoming unsustainable for families everywhere and is not only affecting the most deprived neighbourhoods. The massive increase in inflation has led to many people taking a real-term pay cut and the rising costs of energy, food and fuel have made things difficult for everyone.

But this was not inevitable. The government has repeatedly refused to take steps that could have protected families from the worst of this crisis.

For a start, they could have capped energy prices far lower, as has been done in France which saw only a four per cent increase in prices compared to our 54 per cent, as well as keep the £20 increase in Universal Credit that was a lifeline for so many families.

The Conservative Party has been in power for 12 years now and their legacy is skyrocketing levels of child poverty, highest level of inflation in 30 years and an actual drop in life expectancy in many communities in the North East – and sadly things only look set to get worse.