Peter Hennessy, Lord Hennessy, journalist, academic, and constitutionalist, gave his verdict on the Prime Minister on Broadcasting House, today on BBC Radio 4, around 9:30 am. He was reading from his diary entry for 12 April. The following is a transcript:
"Tuesday, the 12th of April 2022, will be forever remembered as a dark, bleak day for British public and political life. It is the day that Boris Johnson became the great debaser in modern times of decency in public and political life, of our constitutional conventions, our very system of government.
The moment was captured on film for ever. Just after 6 pm Johnson, in a panelled room at Chequers, clutching a prepared statement which he reads to the cameras for Vikki Young of the BBC. He apologises, says he’s paid the fine, and refuses to resign. He was, he added, speaking in a spirit of openness and humility.
If there were cocks on the chequers estate when all this was going on, they would’ve crowed at their very loudest at this point, as the prime minister sealed his place in British history as the first lawbreaker to have occupied the premiership. An office he has sullied like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity.
Boris Johnson has broken the law, misled Parliament, and has in effect shredded the ministerial code which is a crucial part of the spinal-cord of the constitution. And the great weakness of the system is that the Prime Minister, the wrong’un in chief, is the guardian of the code and with it the supposed protector of accountability and decency.
The Queen’s first Minister is now beyond doubt a rogue prime minister unworthy of her, her parliament, her people, and her kingdom. I cannot remember a day when I’ve been more fearful for the well-being of the constitution."
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