THE latest version of the Ministerial Code has triggered outrage, with Boris Johnson accused of rewriting the rules to ‘save his skin’ in the wake of Partygate.
It means that instead of facing pressure to resign, Ministers found guilty of unacceptable conduct could henceforth merely be told to apologise, or could have their salaries docked.
However, in his original draft of the revised rules, Johnson was much more forthright about Ministers escaping censure, as these leaked extracts reveal …
1. In presenting this updated version of the Ministerial Code, I must make it clear that in light of recent experiences, any future complaints against Ministers referring to ‘parties’, ‘vomit’, ‘charmingly capricious Chablis’ ‘birthday cake’, or any words suffixed with ‘gate’ will be regarded as vexatious. NB: No complaints from anyone named Cummings will be entertained.
Any Minister facing a complaint should do nothing until he or she has consulted the Prime Minister, preferably while Carrie is out wallpaper shopping.
2. The PM will decide whether or not to pursue a complaint on the basis of:
a) Whether the Minister is some ambitious, backstabbing b*stard such as Gove, who he’d be glad to be shot of;
b) Whether the Minister is someone who knows where the bodies are buried;
c) Whether the Minister is someone who will be ripe for arm-twisting if the PM faces a confidence vote in the 1922 Committee.
3. A Minister under complaint (even if guilty as Hell), should:
a) Deny everything with a firm-jawed air of confidence while not looking smug or shifty;
b) Try to deflect blame on to Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Theresa May, some expendable civil servant, the Downing Street cleaners, that pompous fat windbag from the SNP whose name escapes me and that whatsisname LibDem bloke;
c) Disappear for a few days owing to ‘family commitments’ and hope that the flak dies down while our spin doctors try to find some other big story to divert the media’s attention;
d) Return to work and be pictured striding into Downing Street with files under his or her arm, breezily wishing the waiting media pack ‘Good morning’ and replying to the cries of: ‘Are you going to resign?’ by saying: ‘I’m getting on with my job.’
4. If, despite all attempts at a cover-up, a Minister is banged to rights by some traitorous Spad or Sir Humphrey flogging pictures to the Sun, he or she should:
a) Make a grovelling apology, using words such as ‘humbled’, squeezing out a tear and assuring Parliament and people that lessons have been learned and there will be no repeat (NB the crossing of fingers during the apology is permissible);
b) Be docked a notional amount in pay which will hardly be noticed alongside his or her directorship fees, and be told he or she cannot go on any more fact-finding tours to the Maldives and Seychelles until the fuss has died down;
c) Be eternally grateful to the PM for saving his or her a**e and remember which side his or her bread is buttered when that Sunak slimeball finally breaks cover and tries to oust the PM.
5. If the Prime Minister faces a complaint, he will never in a million years resign, no bloody way. Eat your heart out, Rishi boy, I’m at the top of the greasy pole and I’m staying!