Possibly John Crace's best ever 🤔

The PM’s predicament seemed hopeless. But Brandon Lewis had a cunning plan | John Crace

There was never any chance of getting Rishi Sunak to do it. The chancellor had made it clear he wasn’t going to offer anything but the most half-hearted support. Ideally, he wouldn’t be spending any time in the same postcode, let alone the same room, as the prime minister from now on.

But Boris Johnson had been more disappointed in other members of his cabinet. Liz Truss’s phone had gone straight to voicemail. Dominic Raab had called in to say he was exhausted after committing random acts of psychopathic violence to try to offset humiliating himself with a supportive tweet.

Michael Gove had ruled himself out by making himself available to do anything that was required. The last time the Govester had made that kind of offer was when he had been Johnson’s campaign manager for his 2016 leadership bid. And he knew how that had ended. The man couldn’t be trusted not to betray his own shadow.

In the end, there had been only one man left standing. “I need someone with a cunning plan,” Johnson had told Brandon “Baldrick” Lewis, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland. “I am that man,” Lewis had replied. “I have a plan so cunning it will defeat even our most cunning enemies.” Good, then you’ve got the job, Boris had said. So it was that Baldrick came to be sent out to defend the prime minister’s lies on the following morning’s media round.

Baldrick first came unstuck when Sky’s Kay Burley made it clear from the off that she thought she was dealing with a halfwit. Though that might have been to overestimate Lewis’s intellectual faculties, as he couldn’t really explain anything very much. He reckoned that Johnson’s boyfriend apology had covered all the bases and been both heartfelt and insincere.

Why should he say sorry and mean it when he didn’t think he had done anything wrong? Besides it had been commonplace at the time to use Boris Johnson impersonators – it’s amazing what you can do with a clown in a blond toddler wig – for roleplays in No 10 work meetings, so it was possible the real Boris hadn’t even attended the party.

Not that it had been a party, of course. And even if it had been, then the prime minister definitely hadn’t read the email from his principal private secretary about it. We had Johnson’s word for that and what more could you want from a man who has repeatedly lied to wives, friends, parliament and the entire country. That’s what made him such a great leader. Because he wasn’t afraid to take the big decisions on when to lie and when to merely conceal the truth. Bring on the next election and another five years of the Great Dissembler.

Err … hang on, said Burley. Back to the party that Boris was unable to tell was a party even though there were trestle tables with food and drink and various staffers were lying face down in the flower beds by the time he turned up. Still that wasn’t a party, said Baldrick. It was just a cunning plan to make it look like a party. Besides, the trestle tables had really been there for spreadsheets.

Baldrick’s head was still spinning by the time he had moved studios to Radio 4’s Today programme, where Nick Robinson concluded the dismantling that Burley had started. No one was sorrier than Boris, Baldrick said, and instead of being the only person who was in the garden to not recognise that a party was a party, he wished he hadn’t stayed for 25 minutes wondering what work event had been taking place, before conveniently forgetting about the whole thing until details of the party that wasn’t a party had been leaked to the media at the end of last week.

It was the insincerity of the apology that made it so sincere. After all, no one would have believed a sincere apology from The Liar. And he had heroically gone to prime minister’s questions, which he was obliged to do, to explain why he hadn’t really done anything wrong. Something he was sure the inquiry would establish as it was being undertaken by Sue Gray, who just happened to be employed by the prime minister and was therefore far from independent. It was all just a huge misunderstanding that could soon be cleared up. Then everyone would be free to have a massive work event to celebrate.

With that, Baldrick shrivelled up in a ball and went to hide until the next time he had a cunning plan – he was fortunate not to have any self-respect to lose – and the mantle of Operation Save Our Boris, codename Sob Story, was passed to Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was making the weekly business statement in the Commons. On reflection, Johnson might have wished Jakey had said a little less. In his own mind, the leader of the house is a model of good manners and easy charm: in reality he is a 12-year-old entitled brat in an oversized suit whose default setting is to be patronising and offensive. The very model of passive aggression.

After making a point of doubling down on his dismissal of Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories in Holyrood, as a lightweight – the reality is that it’s Mogg who is the lightweight – Jakey went on to insult the Welsh. He had done more for the independence movement in five minutes than the Nats had achieved in years. Then Rees-Mogg went still further. It was incumbent on all Tories to support their leader even if he was proved to be a liar and a fraud and Johnson couldn’t be expected to obey the rules as they were far too harsh in the first place. In fact, an intelligent person would have been obliged to break them. That’s what the rest of the country – we little people – who managed to do so were told.

There was just one more thing to do for Boris. Draw a second red line on a family member’s lateral flow test. Now he could hide up in Downing Street where no one could get to him for the next five days. And maybe everyone would have forgotten about his lies by the time he got out. Some hope.


Priceless :laughing::sunglasses::sunglasses:

Another stiletto in Johnson’s ribs… When the donors and SIGs want you gone, you is gone…

The image of a frail 95 year old woman mourning alone and doing her duty while Club Bojo holds two parties is succinct and powerful IMO.

Exclusive: Two parties held in Downing Street as Queen and country mourned death of Prince Philip

Leaving events for No 10 staff were held on eve of the Duke’s funeral, at which Her Majesty was forced to grieve alone due to Covid rules

Ben Riley-Smith, 13 January 2022 • 9:32pm

Queen Elizabeth Prince Philip funeral

The Queen was forced to sit by herself at Prince Philip’s funeral in St George’s Chapel in April last year due to the Covid restrictions in place Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)/AFP/Getty Images

Downing Street staff drank alcohol into the early hours at two leaving events the night before Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral, The Telegraph can reveal.

On the evening of Friday April 16 2021, Britain was in a period of public mourning. Union flags on Government buildings across Westminster hung at half mast to mark the passing of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, the previous week.

With the country in step two of a strict lockdown roadmap, which barred indoor mixing, mourners were told not to leave flowers due to the Covid threat. A book of condolence was set up online to “reduce the risk of transmission” from physical signings.

In a private chapel in Windsor Castle the Prince’s coffin lay overnight. The next day the Queen, her face covered by a black mask, would say farewell to her husband of 73 years. With social distancing rules in force, she sat alone.

Prince Philip funeral

Members of the Royal family were obliged to remain socially distanced during the funeral Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

The atmosphere in Downing Street that Friday evening, however, was quite different. Advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events to mark the departure of two colleagues.

One was James Slack, Mr Johnson’s director of communications. He had served two Tory prime ministers, a rare carry-over from the Theresa May days, but was leaving after four years to become deputy editor at The Sun newspaper. The other was one of Mr Johnson’s personal photographers.

‘Undeniably parties’

Eye-witnesses have talked to The Telegraph about what happened. It is alleged that excessive alcohol was drunk, while at points, guests danced. The gatherings stretched late into the night - well beyond midnight, according to one source.

They were, according to one who was there, undeniably parties.

The revelation of the gatherings at the heart of the Government the night before the Duke’s funeral is problematic, not just because of the context of public grief, but because of the clearly defined Covid restrictions then in place.

The Government’s own guidance read: “You must not socialise indoors except with your household or support bubble. You can meet outdoors, including in gardens, in groups of six people or two households.”

Any defence will likely rely on the argument that the gatherings were for work rather than socialising - a claim that is now being scrutinised by Sue Gray, the civil servant looking into an ever-expanding list of lockdown-breaking party claims.

Sue Gray

Sue Gray, the second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, is leading the probe into all the allegations of Covid rule-breaking parties in Downing Street Credit: GOV.UK/PA

Boris Johnson was not in Downing Street that day, according to a No 10 spokesman. He had departed for Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country house, on Thursday evening and stayed there through to Saturday.

According to those in Downing Street that evening, the two gatherings were firstly held in different parts of the complex, before joining together as the night wore on. Around 30 people attended both gatherings combined, according to one present.

Mr Slack finished work for the last time in Downing Street, stood and thanked a group of press advisers and aides in a farewell speech. Some had worked with him for years through a tumultuous period in Downing Street - not least on trying to deliver Brexit. Some colleagues joined the celebration via video links.

James Slack

One of the leaving events was held for James Slack, Boris Johnson’s former director of communications who had also served under Theresa May Credit: George Cracknell Wright/LNP

Alcohol was opened up - as it often was on Friday evenings in No 10 over the preceding year, according to multiple government sources - and eventually the group migrated out to the Downing Street garden.

The second gathering for the departing photographer - attended mainly by younger members of staff - spent much of the evening in the No 10 basement. The room beneath the main suite of offices on the ground floor had limited ventilation - the type of environment scientists say increases the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Someone was sent to the Co-op on the Strand, a busy street nearby, with a suitcase which was then filled with bottles of wine and brought back to Downing Street, according to one person at the gathering that night.

In the basement, there is said to have been a party atmosphere. A laptop had been placed on a photocopier and music was blaring out.

Shelley Williams-Walker, Mr Johnson’s head of operations, was in charge of the music at points, according to one eye-witness.

Placeholder image for youtube video: 3F1XcO0xz6w

The claim was on Thursday put to Downing Street, where Ms Williams-Walker still works. No denial has been issued.

She was jokingly nicknamed “DJ SWW”, a reference to her initials, according to one present that night.

As the evening wore on, the alcohol still flowing, those celebrating the photographer’s departure headed to the Downing Street garden.

‘Too much wine spilling on No 10’s basement carpet’

One present said there was a fear that too much wine was spilling on the basement carpet as they danced. They are said to have relocated at around midnight.

In the garden, the two groups marking the departure of Mr Slack and the photographer are said to have merged.

The drinking and chatting allegedly carried on into the early hours of the morning. One Downing Street figure had a go on a child’s swing belonging to Wilf Johnson, the Prime Minister’s son, according to one eyewitness, and broke it.

The gathering is the first allegation of lockdown-breaking in Downing Street in 2021 to have emerged, marking a new front in the row engulfing the Prime Minister. Previous party allegations date from 2020.

Placeholder image for youtube video: 2tQ6vZgEO0M

In 2021, the country faced some form of restrictions for seven months, starting with a full lockdown in January and ending with a lifting of almost all Covid rules in July.

On Apr 16, England was in the second step of Mr Johnson’s four-stage “road map” out of full lockdown. Mixing indoors was barred except for within one household. Outdoors people could only meet in groups of six, or two households.

In a sign that some in the Downing Street building understood the importance of sticking to the rules, one senior figure there at the time told The Telegraph they had cautioned against holding a leaving do for Mr Slack. The advice ultimately was not taken.

A No 10 spokesperson said of Mr Slack’s farewell event: “On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those working from home.”

The spokesperson declined to comment on the photographer’s leaving do. Mr Slack declined to comment. Ms Williams-Walker and the photographer were approached via Number 10 but did not comment.

Royal Family

Members of the Royal family walk in procession behind the Land Rover carrying Prince Philip’s coffin to St George’s Chapel Credit: Leon Neal/PA

Hours after the drinking ended in No 10, Her Majesty and members of the Royal Family gathered in St George’s Chapel for the Duke’s funeral.

Only 30 mourners were allowed to attend because of Covid restrictions. The Prime Minister decided not to attend so that more family members could do so.

A photograph of Mr Johnson dressed in black outside of Chequers, arms by his side during a minute’s silence, was posted on his official Twitter account.

As the Duke’s coffin lowered into the vault at St George’s chapel, those present bowed their heads. They were spread out across the pews, two metres apart.

Tap Tap Tap, Tap Tap Tap, that’s the sound of more nails getting hammered into the coffin of Bojos political career.

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Sad that he’ll have had so little time to enjoy the £840 a roll wallpaper. And of course Carrie married a PM, not an ex PM jobbing hack, I hope her prenup is watertight.

The wallpaper… according to the Daily Mail.

:scream::scream::nauseated_face::nauseated_face::nauseated_face::nauseated_face: My eyes, you have sullied my eyes :nauseated_face::nauseated_face::grin::laughing: all that money for that, you have to be kidding :scream:


If you’re any sort of Minister you must absolutely dread the call instructing you to do the media rounds to defend Johnson. :grinning:

You can just see the look on their faces when the phone goes, Javid “Sorry I can’t do it as I’m washing my hair”, Rees-Mogg and Gove “Sorry we are visiting our friends in the Scottish Conservative party today”, Sunak " Sorry but I’m having to visit my accountant and bank manager today, Raab, ring, ring, ring, O well he must be on holiday again :wink::yum:

If you think that’s bad, have you seen her taste in men? :astonished:


If one had a suit in the same pattern through, one could very effectively fade into the background, should one have need to do so.


Maybe that’s what Boris needs then.

For all we know, he could be sitting on that sofa now. Invisible.


From 1:18 onwards


Am I allowed to say I quite like it?
It has something of the Raj era about it.

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No :yum::wink::grin:

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