Politically Speaking with Yvette Cooper: People deserve better from the prime minister

There can’t be one rule for the government and another for everyone else.
Downing street: Parties were held  while the rest of us were told to cancel Christmas. Photo: Getty ImagesDowning street: Parties were held  while the rest of us were told to cancel Christmas. Photo: Getty Images
Downing street: Parties were held while the rest of us were told to cancel Christmas. Photo: Getty Images

Yvette Cooper MP writes: Everyone I’ve talked to in our towns over the last two weeks has been appalled by the revelations about parties in Downing Street last year when the rest of us were told to cancel Christmas.

It is unfair and shambolic, and it undermines trust in the government for tackling problems we face. They can’t carry on like this.

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The details of Downing Street parties emerged during the government’s so called ‘crime week.’

While the rest of the country was locked down, missing out on seeing family and friends or loved ones in hospital, it turns out there were parties and gatherings in government.

As we saw from last week’s video, they knew it was wrong and laughed about how to hide it.

At the same time we heard from the independent Electoral Commission that the Conservative Party broke election laws by not being open and honest about donations to pay for the prime minister’s wallpaper.

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So instead of ministers setting out policies in crime week to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, we heard about Boris Johnson ignoring Covid laws and election laws.

That’s not good enough. People deserve better from the prime minister.

This isn’t the kind of crime week our country needs.

Instead, I believe we need practical plans to tackle crime and improve community safety rooted in the experience of our towns.

That’s what I want to see, and what I am working on now that I have been appointed as Labour’s shadow home secretary.

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For a start that means calling for more police in our towns and communities.

Ninety-three per cent of people who responded to my local crime survey said they saw fewer police on the beat than five years ago.

Neighbourhood policing has been badly cut back by the government – we lost thousands of police officers across West Yorkshire - but that’s the best way to nip crime in the bud and stop problems early.

We also need more action from the government to support local police in tackling persistent crimes.

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That’s why I’ve called for the lifting of the unfair six-month time limit on prosecuting domestic abuse in magistrates courts so that more victims can get justice.

It’s also why I’ve been working with a group of women in Pontefract on what community safety measures are needed so women can feel safer walking the streets at night.

And I’m calling for stronger action from the police to tackle horrible crimes like spiking drinks – especially when people have been going out in the run up to Christmas.

As we look forward to Christmas and to 2022, the country deserves much better from the government.

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Our communities have had a challenging year as Covid continues, but people are still pulling together and supporting each other.

That’s what we do in communities like ours.

And all of us are hoping for a better year next year.

Wishing everyone a good Christmas and best wishes for 2022.

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