Column: Talking Politics - Leaders must always lead by example

Holly Lynch MP (Labour, Halifax) on why our leaders must always lead by example

By Zoe Drye
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 10:30 am
Families have made sacrifices: Halifax MP Holly Lynch at the Covid Memorial Wall
Families have made sacrifices: Halifax MP Holly Lynch at the Covid Memorial Wall

As the weather finally starts to get warmer, the days longer and brighter, I find myself reflecting on this time two years ago, when our country was thrown into lockdown.

Beneath the façade of the spring-time tranquillity brought about by lockdown, droves of people were contracting Coronavirus and battling for their lives; whilst our NHS heroically contended with a rapid, exponential rise in the number patients being admitted.

Throughout this turbulent and disorientating time, I took great pride in how we came together as a community in Halifax. I know that people made immensely difficult sacrifices in order to stop the spread of the virus. Since the revelations of the Prime Minister’s conduct and Downing Street parties during lockdown, a growing number of constituents have contacted me about their experience.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

A Halifax resident spoke of witnessing their partner die of a heart attack at home. In the days after this traumatic and devastating event, they remained alone home, unable to be comforted by friends and family. Their partner’s funeral could only be attended by 20 people, and they were not allowed a wake.

A healthcare worker spent their days working themselves to exhaustion in hospital, and at home lost family members, cousins, and friends to the virus. Nevertheless, they remained committed to following the rules, and did not mix with other households.

Another family emailed in to talk of the anxiety and fear they had throughout lockdown, whilst shielding to protect their vulnerable children and family members.

Leaders must always lead by example, and this should especially be the case when you are setting rules that others must follow. The news that Boris Johnson has been issued a fixed-penalty-notice by the Metropolitan Police marks the culmination of months of bluster and lies from the Prime Minister. If whistle-blowers had not leaked the facts of the matter, and if the police had not of issued a fine, then Johnson would have been perfectly content to never reveal his wrongdoings and would instead continue to act with the same sense of impunity and arrogance which is now defining his leadership.

So far, the Met have issued over 50 fixed penalty notices in relation to the Downing Street parties. This shows that beyond any doubt the most senior leaders in this Government believed that they could disregard the laws that they set for everyone else.

This is the first time in our country’s history that a Prime Minister has been found guilty of breaking the law and it is shocking that this occurred whilst everybody else was making unimaginable sacrifices.

We are living in serious times. An unprecedented cost of living crisis is making its mark across Halifax, with families struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. In Europe, a war of aggression is being waged against a sovereign state by a murderous tyrant. It's because times are so serious that being able to trust in the judgement of a Prime Minister is so essential. I do not believe that he has the moral fibre to hold the highest office in the land. The country deserves better and is going to need better, to guide us though the months to come.