We all remember at the height of the first lockdown how the Cummings road trip on April 2020 so dominated the media when this was exposed a few weeks later and led to a big drop for the Tories in both the voting intention polls and Johnson’s leader ratings.
If anything could have set out clearly to all at Number10 the impact of lockdown breaches this was it. The public anger as picked as recorded in the polls at the time was colossal. While the overwhelming majority of the public were following the rules to the letter there was the PM’s key aide thinking he could flout the rules.
Yet we now discover that within days of this all going public there were garden parties at Number 10 when, surely, it must have been apparent to at least some of the participants that this was politically explosive.
Cummings, of course, made his televised public apology from the same gardens at Number 10 and no action was taken by Johnson.
Now it is widely suggested that spate of leaks that we are seeing in the past few weeks have come from Cummings who is always meticulous about getting the detail right and providing evidence. Clearly the lesson he learned from May 2020 was the potency of being seen not to follow the rules that the vast majority were complying with.
That message didn’t seem to get through to his then boss who is now fighting to save his political career.