WHEN he put his name forward as Tory leader (and Prime Minister), Rishi Sunak promised he would lead with “integrity, professionalism and accountability” – so how is that working out for him?

He’s just been fined by the police for breaking the rules again – this time for not wearing a seatbelt – and previously he was fined for breaching covid lockdown rules by joining one of Boris Johnson’s parties in Downing Street while the rest of us were banned from visiting dying relatives. So much for his integrity.

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His professionalism is apparent in the professional way he has helped as Chancellor and now Prime Minister to raid the public purse, starve essential services like the NHS of funding and instead plough billions of pounds into the pockets of Tory donors. The feeble attempt of using Lady Mone as a scapegoat doesn’t scratch the surface of the crooked actions of successive Tory governments of which he has been a key member. And let’s not forget his boast during one of the Tory leadership elections that he was diverting cash meant to tackle poverty into rich Tory constituencies – he’s just done it again with the latest “Levelling Up” funding.

And as for accountability – why did he appoint Nadhim Zahawi as chairman of the Tory party? It now looks clear that in his short term as Chancellor Zahawi was negotiating with HMRC on his own tax bill. Who else manages to get away from not paying £3.7 million without so much as a court hearing or being locked up in prison? Instead Zahawi is kept within the higher positions of the Tory party.

There is no accountability within the Tory government – they are as crooked as one another and don’t give a damn who knows. There is no chance of reforming the UK – the only way to escape this corruption is to grab our independence as soon as possible. Time isn’t on our side. We can’t wait forever.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

AS Rishi Sunak picks up his second police fine as a serving government Cabinet minister and he attempts to kick the Zahawi tax scandal into the long grass by conveniently delegating the problem to his independent ethics adviser, his short-lived administration is following in the footsteps of his mendacious and amoral predecessor (forget Truss, everyone else has) Boris Johnson.

The Conservative Party chairman, lest we forget, was the individual who charged the taxpayer more than £50,000 to heat his horses’ stables and has become embroiled in the current imbroglio with HMRC despite being Chancellor at the time of the alleged impropriety and therefore in charge of HMRC itself.

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The Prime Minister’s decision to involve a so-called ethics adviser is tantamount to professional cowardice and would be risible if it was not a transparent attempt to “do a Sue Gray” by avoiding holding a senior member of his Cabinet to account by kicking the can of political responsibility as far down the Westminster road as is possible.

Zahawi, like his Tory party colleagues, can be euphemistically deemed to be liberal with the truth from time to time and though he may not be someone who deliberately engages in tax avoidance – like the Prime Minister’s better half allegedly has – there can be little doubt that members of the public may find it very difficult to sympathise with his predicament at present.

The culture of dishonesty and cover-up appears to be ever present in Conservative administrations. Johnson may not be leading his party but his values of corruption and deception are still only too apparent in the Sunak government, from the Cabinet to the ERG and beyond.

How any sentient being could even consider voting for this abject shower in Scotland is totally beyond my ken. As the Proclaimers once sang, “what do you do when democracy’s all through?”

Owen Kelly

AS we approach January 31, the third anniversary of Scotland being dragged from the EU by the hardest possible Brexit, please may I put some Brexit-related questions to our two local MPs, Alister Jack and David Mundell?

Both are longstanding MPs of the governing Westminster Conservative party. Alister Jack is the current Secretary of State for Scotland and David Mundell previously held that position. Both are therefore associated with and responsible for the Brexit mess which the Tory party in which they hold (or held) senior positions has caused.

The questions I should like to ask these gentlemen are:

1. In the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, and subsequently, we were repeatedly told by those many members of the Tory party who were in favour of Brexit that there would be no economic downside to voting to leave the EU. So why has it made us all poorer? The UK now has the worst economic growth in Europe, falling living standards and an upsurge in food banks and fuel poverty.

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2. We were promised that there would be a US trade deal, but the UK is not even negotiating one. Why not? Am I wrong in believing that it is because the US has significant concerns about the UK Government’s attitude to the Irish border following Brexit?

3. International and domestic concerns about the Irish border have been repeatedly waved airily away by the Tory party. We were told that it would not be a problem, but it is. Why is that?

4. Never mind the 2016 slogan on the side of a red bus. We were repeatedly told that Brexit would boost the NHS. But the NHS is in a worse condition than it has ever been while other developed countries are doing much better. How do you explain that Mr Jack and Mr Mundell?

David Howdle