THE Tories are twisting themselves into knots trying to defend the Big Dog over his criminal breaches of the lockdown rules his government imposed.

Because of course they are.

Brendan Clarke-Smith - the MP for Bassetlaw, one of the redder bricks in the Red Wall, has taken it upon himself to compose a Twitter thread, calling out the Labour Party’s “incredible hypocrisy” over the Partygate scandal.

The National:

Lark-Pith put thumb to screen to rally around his boss, to whom he owes his entire political career as a Brexit-backing 2019’er.

First up in his sights was Liam Byrne, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury. A worthy candidate for criticism one might say because the only thing anyone really knows about Byrne is he was the author of the infamous “I'm afraid there is no money” note left when Gordon Brown’s administration ended.

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Clarksmith pointed out Byrne did not resign for using his phone while driving in 2007. He could well have resigned his position as Minister for the West Midlands but perhaps there was no one who wanted to replace him. Either way, he was not a senior member of the Cabinet – unlike the PM and Rishi Sunak who hold the two highest positions of elected power in the UK. Quite a step up from the Minister for the bit around Birmingham.

Byrne did a lot of things in office we wished he had resigned over – the “hostile environment” policy has its origins in a memo he circulated among staff at the Home Office. Or his laughable “British Day” idea for the August bank holiday – which is held on a different day in Scotland.

Next up was Harriet Harman. The Right Honourable member for Camberwell and Peckham is actually more Jeremy Clarkson than Jeremy Corbyn.

Over the years, she’s racked up more than £500 in driving fines between 2003 and 2010.

She was banned from driving for a week after speeding on the M4 in 2003 and fined £350 and a £15 victim surcharge when she admitted to using her phone while driving, causing her crash into another vehicle.

Her motorway shenanigans cover her being the Solicitor General for England and Wales. This position made her the deputy to the Attorney General who advises the Cabinet on legal matters. You can see how these things start to circle around.

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Former Attorney General Patricia Scotland was fined £5000 while in post for failing to take copies of documents which her cleaner had faked to work in the UK.

Loloahi Tapui overstayed her student visa by four years and was paid just £6 per hour by Baroness Scotland.

But Clarkes-Smith, who is a prominent Brexit supporter but married to a Romanian doctor, might not be the most consistent of fellows.

He suggested “we need to get back to the idea of taking responsibility” was the appropriate course of action when Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign came to a head in 2020.

It appears responsibility applies for hungry schoolchildren and their struggling parents – but not the Prime Minister.