Hello. Malting kit, the Minister of Police, was on government airwaves today mainly to talk about the government’s new 10-year drug strategy. But he also became the latest minister to take on the hellish interview challenge – defending the threadbare and inconsistent Downing Street line during last year’s No.10 Christmas parties that appeared to be breaking lockdown rules. .
On BBC News, Malthouse said he was not sure there had been a party. But that didn’t stop him from saying that if it did happen, it wasn’t breaking the rules.
On Sky News, Malthouse said he took the insurance he got from Downing Street “at face value” (an unusual phrase – he could have just said he believed them).
And then, in the Today program, Malthouse said that factors such as social distancing and room size might have been factors in determining whether the party was legal or not – even if it wasn’t. exemptions allowed in the directives.
Malthouse also said it was fair for police to investigate allegations of past offenses – late last week the Met said it did not systematically investigate violations “in retrospect” of the Covid rules – but he said it was for the police to decide what they did in this case. The Met is under pressure to investigate.
The green deputy Caroline lucas suggests that Malhouse’s failure to offer a proper Downing Street defense strengthens the case for an investigation.
SNP deputy John nicolson also described today’s interview with Malthouse as “excruciating.”
Here is the program for the day.
10:30 am: High Court issues ruling in case brought by FDA, the union of senior officials, challenging Boris Johnson’s decision to ignore ruling that Home Secretary Priti Patel broke ministerial code by intimidating officials.
11:30 am: Downing Street holds its briefing in the lobby.
2:30 p.m .: Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary, answers questions in the Commons. He is also due to make a statement in connection with an investigation into the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case.
3 p.m .: Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, testifies before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.
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