The sleaze row has given Labour fresh impetus – they sound like an effective opposition

Editorial: The prime minister may have saved face with an amorphous tightening up of the regulations around second jobs, but more damage has been done to his authority

Wednesday 17 November 2021 21:30

Two turbulent weeks of sleaze and much has changed – but too much remains depressingly, stubbornly the same about the way politics is done. It will not impress the voters.

The main political impact of the miscellaneous examples of unwise (and worse) behaviour by parliamentarians – which continues – has been to destabilise the premiership of Boris Johnson. Although he prefers to ignore the old adage, the buck really does stop with him.

It was he who approved the doomed and ill-thought-through scheme to rescue Owen Paterson and emasculate the standards commissioner; it was he who pushed it through the Commons, despite the misgivings of Tory backbenchers; and it was he who decided on the U-turn that made fools of him and his party. Now he has proposed an amorphous and weak way of tightening up the regulations on second jobs and conflicts of interest – but only because Labour has skilfully turned the discontent on the government benches to its own advantage.

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