DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Kangaroo court risks damaging democracy

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Kangaroo court risks damaging democracy

To any fair-minded and dispassionate observer, the Commons privileges committee’s inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over Partygate is an appalling travesty of natural justice.

The panel deciding his fate is so tainted with prejudice and partiality, there is virtually no chance of him receiving a fair trial. Indeed, even the chairman herself – Harriet Harman – has summarily declared Mr Johnson guilty as charged.

The whole process has more than a whiff of the witch-hunts of Salem. Because really, what is the point of this case?

By the time the tribunal convenes next month, Mr Johnson will have paid the heaviest price for his lockdown misdemeanours – being forced from No 10.

 The whole process against Boris Johnson has more than a whiff of a witch-hunt

Yet the truth is, his downfall does not quench his enemies’ thirst for revenge. Vindictive opposition parties and unforgiving Remainers want him humiliated and crushed for political reasons.

That is why the kangaroo court pursuing Mr Johnson sneakily ripped up the parliamentary rulebook.

Rather than having to prove that the accused ‘knowingly’ misled the Commons, it will now be enough to censure him even if he did so inadvertently (and which, illustrating the farce of this inquisition, Boris has admitted and apologised for).

Of course, this spiteful stitch-up would delight the Boris-haters. But as a dossier of legal advice drawn up by his allies makes clear, such an extraordinary abuse of power risks having chilling ramifications.

If ministers feel unable to make statements in the Commons in case they unwittingly tell an untruth, won’t they clam up? Instead of trying to be helpful, mightn’t they simply parrot non-answers?

The unintended consequences of this unhealthy desire to effectively impeach Mr Johnson could be irreparable damage to our precious democracy.

Strike out the unions

In another troubling echo of the 1970s, trade union militancy is infecting ever more sectors of the economy.

This time, the hard-Left barons have called an eight-day strike at Britain’s biggest container port in a pay dispute.

This malignant walkout threatens a supply chain meltdown, with shops empty of some goods, customers inconvenienced, businesses damaged and the country another shove closer to recession.

Yet the Unite union refuses to consult members on a substantial wage rise offered by port chiefs. Why not? Because its true agenda is to foment industrial strife in a bid to weaken the Tory government.

The next prime minister must crack down on these cynical antediluvian throwbacks.

A lesson in greed?

With outrageous brass neck, universities want to bolster their bank balances by hiking tuition fees for British students by thousands of pounds – closer to the £24,000 paid by foreign undergraduates.

Perhaps the best courses are worth huge sums. But too many students already rack up crippling debts for degrees giving them little or no advantage in the world of work. And higher charges may deter people from poor families from higher education.

Before demanding a massive fees hike, vice-chancellors should guarantee all students have face-to-face lectures – not inadequate teaching via a flickering screen.

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