WE all know that the British Prime Minister is a habitual liar who heads a government of liars. The latest lie in a long series of lies is Johnson's increasingly implausible insistence that there was no staff Christmas party at Downing Street last year.

We now know thanks to a video that was leaked to ITV News that there was indeed a staff party in Downing Street at a time when, due to Covid restrictions, gatherings of more than six people were prohibited on pain of a fine of up to £3200. Moreover, we also know that the party was not socially distanced, and that senior Downing Street staff found the entire matter hilarious.

This occurred shortly after I had been in hospital for more than a month after suffering a massive stroke which almost killed me and which has left me with permanent disabilities, yet like everyone else in hospital at the time I was not permitted any visits at all, never mind a party and a secret Santa. It was the same period when those burying loved ones lost to Covid were only allowed a handful of people at a socially distanced funeral. Laugh? We never started.

In fact, when the restrictions were introduced, the Home Secretary Priti Patel told Sky News that she would have no hesitation in calling the police if she found anyone breaking the rules by having a Christmas party and called on members of the public to do the same.

Despite the fact that we now know that Downing Street was doing exactly what the Home Secretary said would cause her to call the police, there is no news about whether Patel has reported Downing Street to the Metropolitan Police, but it's a safe bet that she hasn't. The Tories have a decidedly two-tier approach to justice.

It's not just Patel who is suddenly silent about this latest transgression from the Prime Minister. Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who was terribly concerned about standards of behaviour in public office during the investigation of the botched way that complaints against former first minister Alex Salmond were handled, when his permanently infuriated face couldn't be kept off the telly, has said that he continues to have confidence in the Prime Minister.

Actually, most of us have confidence in Johnson – we have confidence that this won't be the last time that he will be caught out in a lie and that this episode will do absolutely nothing to improve his behaviour, but that's probably not what the spineless Ross meant.

At PMQs today, we saw Johnson in full Bad Boys Done It and Ran Away mode. Johnson blamed his staff for the reported lockdown breaches and announced that the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, will "establish all the facts” and “report back as soon as possible". Johnson added that there would "be disciplinary action for all those involved", but not for him.

In the cosmic scheme of things, this is not the most serious of Johnson's casual disregard for rules that he finds inconvenient. Even if we believe the habitual liar when he maintains that he didn't know about the party, his staff were merely taking their cue from a boss who clearly believes that rules are only meant to be followed by the common people, not by himself and his associates. The episode is symptomatic of a prime minister whose tenure will forever be tainted by lies, sleaze and corruption. 

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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