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UK politics

What a price to pay for a glass of warm white wine

Stefan Rousseau/Getty

“Sometimes people do things that are so unutterably stupid, so determinedly idiotic, so spectacularly self-sabotaging and counterproductive one is lost for words,” says Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail. According to a leaked email, Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, invited more than 100 staff to a “bring your own booze” gathering at Downing Street in May 2020. But it’s not just the sheer hypocrisy of hosting a party in the middle of lockdown that makes my blood boil. “It’s the damn stupidity.”

The truth is that our government worked phenomenally hard during the first lockdown. I should know – at the time I was living with my now ex-husband, the cabinet minister Michael Gove. “Every time I walked past his study door I would catch snippets of the Prime Minister talking to the Cabinet via Zoom, working like a dog.” When it wasn’t Boris, it was Matt Hancock “bellowing down the telephone”, desperately trying to sort things out. They barely slept, and they agonised over every decision. “Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, non-stop.” But now all that hard work risks being swept away by the “wave of righteous public anger” engulfing our government. And for what? “A few glasses of warm white wine and some sodding ‘nibbles’.”

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