NO-ONE could really have been surprised at the brazen brass neck of the Tories in choosing yesterday to make their long-overdue statement of measures and series of U-turns to address the cost of living crisis.

When people know they can get away with breaking the law, it emboldens them. The Tories knew everyone would see the timing as a deliberate tactic designed to divert attention from the fallout of the Sue Gray report, but they simply did not care.

Make no mistake about it, the Sue Gray report and the Metropolitan Police investigation into partygate amount to one colossal cover-up of shameless law-breaking by the British Prime Minister at a time when the citizens he is supposed to serve were suffering greatly, not just because of the pandemic but because of the very laws he so brazenly ignored.

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Perhaps the most iconic representation of this is the photograph of Her Majesty the Queen sitting alone at a funeral as she bid farewell to her husband of 73 years the day after Number 10 staff partied into the night to say goodbye to a colleague.

Whether you are a republican or a royalist this should make you as sick as the overindulging partygoers. The fool made of the Queen is emblematic of the fools made of all of us by a Tory leader who imposed strict rules and then flouted them himself.

When such disrespect and lack of empathy can be displayed towards the monarch, why should we be surprised at the contempt in which he and his mates hold the rest of us? It was hard not to think of this as Johnson made his unctuous humble address to the Queen in Parliament yesterday to mark her jubilee but, of course, we are not permitted to refer to this aspect of his hypocrisy as there is a convention that the monarch is not usually mentioned in the chamber.

For me, the two things that most stand out about Sue Gray’s report are as follows. Firstly, the multiple examples of disrespect shown by the entitled partygoers to the security and cleaning staff at 10 Downing Street. These low-paid workers were forced to continue to come to work during the pandemic and had to mop up the wine and the vomit. Such behaviours come from a tone set at the top.

Secondly, and most astonishingly, is Gray’s failure to investigate the party which took place in the PM’s flat on the night of November 13, 2020, in celebration of the fact that Dominic Cummings had got his jotters. This party has become known as the Abba party because the PM’s wife allegedly played Abba’s hit The Winner Takes It All repeatedly and very loudly.

According to page 18 of Gray’s report, this “gathering” was attended by five special advisers and the PM. Food and alcohol were available and it went on late into the night. Gray does not mention the PM’s wife at all but it has been widely reported that Carrie Johnson was also there and chose the musical accompaniment as an expression of her longstanding antipathy to Dominic Cummings.

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Gray goes on to say that: “The information collected on this gathering is limited as the process of obtaining evidence had only just been commenced when the Metropolitan Police announced their own investigations which included the events on November 13, 2020. At this point I stopped my investigation, given the need to avoid prejudice to the police investigation.”

So far, so reasonable but then extraordinarily she goes on to say that following the Metropolitan Police announcement last week that no further proceedings would be taken in relation to the partygate investigation after 126 fines had been handed out, she “considered whether or not to conduct any further investigation into this event but concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate to do so”. She does not say why.

On any view, it is highly suspicious that this particular party involving the PM and his wife in their own personal flat should not be investigated by Gray. What do we know of the police investigation into it, if there was one?

Well, the answer is nothing. We know the PM and his wife weren’t fined for it. We don’t know whether any of the other attendees were. But we do know that in respect of a number of events where the PM was in attendance junior people have been fined while he has not. We also know that in respect of some events while junior members of staff were sent questionnaires by the police, the PM was not. It stinks.

It was noticeable that during his statement in the Chamber on Wednesday the PM repeatedly and, I think, quite deliberately, referred to Gray as “Sue” as though she was an old friend. What, I wonder, was he trying to convey? I very much fear that he was thumbing his nose at those of us who were alarmed by his private meeting with her and rubbing our nose in the fact he has got away with it.

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It seems to me that the Metropolitan Police may have been nobbled. I also fear Durham police, which re-opened a closed investigation into Keir Starmer on the flimsiest of pretexts after extensive lobbying by Tory MPs and the right-wing press, may have been nobbled. And that is scary. I am sure National readers will agree with me when I say I don’t want to live in a state where the government of the day can influence the police in the exercise of their duty to investigate without fear or favour.

We need to know whether that has happened here but only an independent investigation can establish that. I won’t hold my breath for one.

Meanwhile, the only real question which remains is whether Boris Johnson will get away with lying to Parliament as he undoubtedly did when he repeatedly insisted that there were no parties, and all the rules were followed.

If they find he lied, then he will have no choice but to resign ... or will he? Who knows? The rule of law is on the skids at Westminster and it is really frightening.