News emerged on Monday that bars inside the Palace of Westminster – where prices are already subsidised by the taxpayer – had been exempted from the 10pm cut-off by a loophole classing them as “workplace canteens”.
A swift U-turn followed within hours of the matter being reported, raising the question: what would have happened had it not been made public?
Given that it comes after the recent exemption of grouse shooting from the ‘rule of six’ and new face mask regulations for passengers applying to taxis but not ‘chauffeur-driven’ cars, the public could be forgiven should it arrive at the seemingly reasonable conclusion that it is one rule for them and another for us.
This feeling has calcified since the actions of Dominic Cummings – with his infamous lockdown trip to Durham and subsequent “eyesight test” drive to Barnard Castle – that were excused and even praised by the Prime Minister.
This is more serious than just a case of bad public relations; at a time when new laws restricting our way of life are being introduced at dizzying speed – in response to the pandemic – situations like this one further diminish the trust between the public and those who govern us.
It should be noted: there will be scores of MPs who are angry and dismayed at this set of circumstances which conspire to make an already unenviable lot considerably more so.
If lawmakers are asking others to follow stringent new restrictions on their daily lives – with much emotional and economic sacrifice – the least they can do is adhere to those same rules themselves.
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