Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

‘Gross failure of responsibility’ Letter from Boris’ teacher goes viral after party row

Boris Johnson apology: 'the PM has apologised' says Jacob Rees-Mog

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The letter was written by Martin Hammond, Mr Johnson’s former classics master, to his father, Stanley Johnson in 1982. Mr Hammond claimed that Johnson believed he “should be free of the network of obligation that binds everyone else”.

He also criticised the 17-year-old for appearing “affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility”.

This comes as the Johnson government has faced criticism for appearing to have one rule for themselves and another for everybody else.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Downing Street staff were invited to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden – during the height of lockdown in May 2020 – to “make the most of the lovely weather”.

Less than an hour before the drinks party, the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had reminded the public that they should only meet in pairs outdoors.

Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing, he said: “You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place provided that you stay two metres apart.

In the letter, obtained by author Andrew Gimsom, Mr Hammond said: “Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies.

“[He] sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the school for the next half).

“I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation that binds everyone else.”

Mr Gimsom reportedly said he received Mr Hammond’s permission to reproduce it, as well as approval from Mr Johnson and his father.

An email seen by ITV News earlier this week showed Mr Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds telling over 100 Number 10 employees to “bring your own booze”.

According to ITV News, around 40 staff, including Mr Johnson himself, gathered in the garden eating picnic food and drinking alcohol.

Less than an hour before the alleged drinks party, the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had reminded the public that they should only meet in pairs outdoors.

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Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing, he said: “You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place provided that you stay two metres apart.”

Yesterday, Mr Johnson admitted that the revelation may lead people to believe that “in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”

He said: “I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.

“I know the anguish they have been through – unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want or to do the things they love.

“I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.

“And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.”

Mr Johnson has faced calls to resign from four Tory MPs and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross.

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