Letters: An outdoor party at Downing Street did no harm, but Boris Johnson still has to resign

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·9 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
A Socialist Worker placard called on Saturday for the Prime Minister to go - Anadolu Agency
A Socialist Worker placard called on Saturday for the Prime Minister to go - Anadolu Agency

SIR – There was nothing wrong with the Prime Minister’s outdoor party. It was a danger to no one. The problem was the nonsensical rules.

At that time there was no evidence that lockdown was effective at preventing transmission. Sage refused to publish the evidence it was basing its advice on.

There was too much “group think” and not enough debate. The PM’s foolishness was not questioning the evidence. There were many experts being vilified at the time who were questioning lockdown.

The PM did not always call it right on the big decisions.

That’s why he should go.

P L Sanderson FRCS
Hexham, Northumberland

SIR – Whatever your opinion of Boris Johnson, no leader in the world has managed the Covid crisis well. What a hand to be dealt as the new Prime Minister: Brexit, a general election, catching Covid and nearly dying, getting married, two more children and incompetent staff. Not since Churchill in the war has the country faced such a challenge as Covid.

Give Mr Johnson a break. Who else could have managed the nightmare?

Alan Bell
Bookham, Surrey

SIR – What concerns me is that Britain needs strong leadership and strong direction and all ministers should now be leading their departments forward. But I see no policies, no plans – just fruitless raking over the coals of parties rather than dealing with matters like energy policy, industrial strategy, MoD incompetence, inflation and many other strategic priorities.

We can easily lose months vacillating when the rest of the world is moving on and setting agendas at this hugely critical time. Let’s change the leadership and move on as well.

Tony Brook
Malvern, Worcestershire

SIR – In my office, many moons ago, one of the most productive hours of the day was when the partners met for a drink after close of business, to talk over the day, its problems and successes.

We would not have described this as a party. It was a business gathering of people who had spent the day already giving each other germs. I think that it would have been allowed under 2020 lockdown rules.

I suggest that the frenzied pack should clarify the meaning of the word party.

Simon Wood
Brockfield, North Yorkshire

SIR – “Carrie Johnson broke Covid rules”. Well, our Yorkshire village backwater would have been teeming with police every day if we’d all started snitching on each other for every little infringement.

I’ve gone from shock and outrage to sympathy now, and I don’t even like what I know of Carrie Johnson.

Jill Pick
Driffield, East Yorkshire

Boris Johnson in his office at Number 10 Downing Street - Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing St
Boris Johnson in his office at Number 10 Downing Street - Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing St

SIR – The photo you published on Saturday showing Boris Johnson lounging in his office says it all. It shows our Prime Minister carelessly relaxing amid chaos and squalor. It shows him as shameless yet shameful.

Catherine Castree
Fetcham, Surrey

SIR – The revelations about multiple parties do indeed reveal a disquieting level of arrogance on the part of the participants, but also reveal the depth of the alternative agenda of those guilty of doing the leaking.

I do not believe the leaks have been revealed solely because “the public needs to know”, but are far more likely the work of anti-Brexit types still embedded in No 10’s workforce. They no doubt agree with the sentiment that “if Boris goes, so does Brexit”.

Douglas M Jacobs
Highworth, Wiltshire

SIR – As Mr Johnson contemplates his next step, he should bear in mind that his large majority was a result of two things, namely the fact that the country was fed up with the Brexit situation and just wanted it sorted and, even more importantly, it was a choice between him and Jeremy Corbyn.

That is not the choice we will face in the future. Whoever ends up leading the Conservatives into the next election will do well to remember that.

Vivien Parsons
Crawley Down, West Sussex

SIR – After Boris Johnson we need a true Tory, someone who has shown that principle matters more than career. Douglas Ross and Lord Frost come to mind.

Francis Bown
London E3

SIR – Of course the PM is very sorry. He is very sorry that he has been caught.

David Walters
Corbridge, Northumberland

SIR – Delivering Champagne to Downing Street has a long tradition.

In March 1806, Coutts Bank wrote to the newly appointed Prime Minister Lord Grenville, surely one of the most sober of English politicians, to inform him of the arrival with them of a consignment of wine from Ruinart in Rheims and Barton et Guestier in Bordeaux. He replied with instructions to send it to Downing Street and debit his account.

Min Wood
Fonthill Bishop, Wiltshire

Gardiner’s world

SIR – Since reading your report of the activities of the alleged Chinese agent Christine Lee, I am assailed with unanswered questions.

1. Since the beneficiary of her considerable largesse appears to have been the same Dr Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP, who regularly filled our television screens during the Brexit years spouting streams of pious, long-winded anti-democratic piffle, what was it about him that made her think he would be worth lavishing more than half a million pounds on?

2. What on earth did he think the money given to his office was for?

3. Why, as stated in your report, does he claim to have been “liaising with the Security Services over a number of years” if it came as news to him that she was up to no good?

4. Is it stretching credulity too far to conclude that he was a resourceful and skilled agent of the Security Services playing a double game heroically entrapping a dangerous foreign agent? In which case, he deserves a knighthood. It will be interesting to see if he ever gets one.

5. On the other hand, instead of the Palace, should we be thinking about the Tower?

Peter FitzGerald
South Queensferry, West Lothian

Best after

SIR – When milk starts to turn (Letters, January 13), then it’s time to make scones.

Sour milk makes the best scones ever.

Liz Appleby
Alnwick, Northumberland

What exactly is woke?

SIR – At a recent Covid-compliant dinner party, we sat around the table and tried to define woke.

We did not glue our hands to the table or smash the crockery to make our points. By the end of the evening, we all six had failed to agree upon a definition.

Do any readers have a definition that we can discuss when we next meet?

Tony Scofield
Glastonbury, Somerset

Admirals all

SIR – I am slightly puzzled that the Duke of York was promoted Vice Admiral “in line with his still-serving peers, on his 55th birthday”. I believe that his active service had stopped when he was a Commander (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army).

When I reached my 55th birthday, I was not promoted but was compelled to retire in line with the regulations. Is there a special rule for the Royal Navy in this regard, or does it follow an old Italian custom of honorary promotion on retirement? After all, an Italian who can call himself General has much more kudos than a mere Colonel.

Colonel Philip Barry (retd)
Lydden, Kent

Barricaded banks

SIR – You report that customers are shunning banks, that is, not visiting branches.

From my experience the boot is on the other foot, as during lockdown, and for long after, banks reduced their opening hours to almost nothing.

More than once I tried to visit my branch only to find it firmly shut, and now lack of footfall is given as an excuse for closing the branch entirely.

Ann Cooper
Stroud, Gloucestershire

Everyone needs a Willy

SIR – The arbitrary renaming of characters in older children’s books (Letters, January 13) continues to baffle. While Enid Blyton’s Fanny and Dick have become Franny and Rick, Aunt Fanny in The Famous Five retains her name – for how much longer, one wonders? Yet the biggest joke of all, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, remains in plain sight.

Philip Womack
London NW1

Smart thinking

SIR – Based on smart motorways and smart meters, I conclude that anything described as smart probably isn’t.

Richard Dalgleish
Kingsclere, Berkshire

Eric Gill did bad things and produced good art

Gill’s Ariel between Wisdom and Gaiety on Broadcasting House - Angelo Hornak / Alamy
Gill’s Ariel between Wisdom and Gaiety on Broadcasting House - Angelo Hornak / Alamy

SIR – With the attack on Eric Gill’s sculpture above the entrance to Broadcasting House, some institutions are said to be reviewing the display of his works, because of his personal conduct. This is consistent with the zeitgeist but is clearly barmy.

Why can we not appreciate good things done by bad people? However awful Gill’s behaviour, he was a very talented artist. I fear many widely appreciated artists would fail to meet the behavioural standards which society wants. Caravaggio was almost certainly a murderer. In her biography of her notoriously misogynistic grandfather, Picasso’s granddaughter wrote that he treated women badly: “Once they were bled dry, he would dispose of them.”

Should we throw all the Caravaggios and Picassos on the fire?

Paul Goodson
Plaxtol, Kent

SIR – In the light of the decision by the chapter of Guildford Cathedral to review its sculpture by Eric Gill, should I worry that my computer might denounce me if I print this letter in the Gill Sans typeface?

Charles Dowell
Exeter

SIR – I suggest statues created by Eric Gill should have a visible plaque nearby with either Romans 3:23 (“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God") or John 8:7 (“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”)

Rev Cindy Kent
Barnet, Hertfordshire

The bubble car that rolled on the lawn

SIR – When we were children my father needed something to cart the lawn clippings in, and he felt we should learn to drive. So he bought a Heinkel bubble car (Letters, January 15).

He adapted the back by putting on a flatbed for the clippings. We learnt to drive it and had fun filling it with as many friends as possible and driving in ever decreasing circles on the lawn till it fell over. It was so light we could bounce it back up and start again.

It eventually died and we got a Messerschmitt.

Delia Madden
London SW8

Letters to the Editor

We accept letters by post, fax and email only. Please include name, address, work and home telephone numbers.
ADDRESS: 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT
FAX: 020 7931 2878
EMAIL: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk
FOLLOW: Telegraph Letters on Twitter @LettersDesk

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting