DAAGLIKSE POS KOMMENTAAR: Fiasco risks becoming PM's gravest mistake

DAAGLIKSE POS KOMMENTAAR: Fiasco risks becoming PM’s gravest mistake

It should have been a day of national joy and relief. Omicron cases had halved week on week, the most positive evidence yet that the war on Covid is being won.

Experts believe Britain is closer to exiting the pandemic than any other Western country – a vindication of Boris Johnson‘s brave call not to reimpose draconian restrictions in defiance of lockdown-obsessed scientists and political foes.

Yet instead of being able to capitalise on this remarkable success, he is mired in the gravest predicament of his premiership.

Just when it seemed the conflagration over rule-breaking Downingstraat parties was damping down, damaging revelations have put the bellows under it.

While the Prime Minister could reasonably claim he did not know about (much less attend) the ‘cheese and winesoiree in December 2020, these latest disclosures can’t be so easily brushed aside.

Witnesses say he was present at the ‘bring your own boozebash for officials in the No 10 garden in May that year. Tellingly, he hasn’t denied the accusation.

Witnesses say he was present at the 'bring your own booze' bash for officials in the No 10 garden in May that year. Tellingly, he hasn't denied the accusation

Witnesses say he was present at the ‘bring your own boozebash for officials in the No 10 garden in May that year. Tellingly, he hasn’t denied the accusation

The gathering was organised by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’. Is it really plausible he didn’t tell his boss?

In normal times, no one would much care about Downing Street’s social habits. But this was during the first and harshest lockdown – ordered by the PM himself.

Outdoor meetings were limited to two people or a single household. Anyone suspected of disobeying these regulations was harassed by police and threatened with fines or imprisonment. People were even forbidden to comfort dying loved ones in hospitals and care homes.

Regoor die land, sacrifices were made for the greater good. In Downing Street, it was party time. Those who made the rules were brazenly flouting them.

As gevolg daarvan, the country is fizzing with anger. Two-thirds of voters think Mr Johnson should resign, including four in ten Tories.

What began as a relatively minor Westminster squall has developed into a raging storm – and may even threaten his tenure in No 10. Worst of all, it’s distracting the Government’s attention from vastly more important issues.

The gathering was organised by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds to 'make the most of the lovely weather'. Is it really plausible he didn't tell his boss?

The gathering was organised by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’. Is it really plausible he didn’t tell his boss?

Top of the list is to galvanise the economic recovery by cutting Covid self-isolation from seven days to five in order to get people back to work. Then there’s the looming cost of living crisis to deal with and tackling the long-term damage to children caused by school closures.

If Mr Johnson is to devote his full attention to these vital matters, he must draw a line under the ‘Partygate’ fiasko.

That means admitting and apologising for his failings with humility and genuine contrition. Only then can he move on.

This woefully stupid own goal has been a gift to his opponents – and a source of deep frustration to his supporters, including this newspaper.

So often during the pandemic the PM has got the big decisions right. But he has undoubtedly made mistakes. He must ensure this doesn’t become the biggest mistake of all.

A very smart decision

At last an outbreak of common sense. After a searing Daily Mail investigation laid bare the lethal failings of smart motorway technology, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has taken action.

He has paused the rollout of new stretches of death-trap roads pending a long-term safety review. And he is investing millions more in ‘refuge areasfor stranded cars.

When we reported our findings, National Highways dismissed them as misleading. Thank goodness someone is more concerned with saving lives than saving face.

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