In a viral video, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is interrogated by the Line of Duty anticorruption crew DS Steve Arnott, DC Kate Fleming and Superintendent Ted Hastings regarding the Downing Street party scandal.
An inquiry into the events is now being conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray - Cabinet Secretary Simon Case had originally led the inquiry, but he was forced to quit the role after it emerged that a quiz had been held in his own department which he was not only aware of, but also spoke at.
What’s the video?
In the viral video from Led By Donkeys, Johnson has been edited into an interrogation scene from BBC police drama Line of Duty, a show which is centred around investigating corruption.
The video opens with the interrogation room being prepped, with the tape recorder listed as “AC12 Interview: Operation BYOB Boris Johnson Interview”.
It opens with a question regarding an email sent by Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, in which he invites more than 100 Downing Street staff to attend a party on 20 May 2020, to “make the most of the lovely weather” and instructing the recipients to “bring your own booze!”.
The interrogation highlights the fact that, given the restrictions in place at the time, members of the public were forced to cancel events like weddings, they were kept from visiting sick relatives and neither could families get together to bury their loved ones.
Superintendent Ted Hastings, played by Adrian Dunbar, at one point, tells Johnson that “your corruption was mistaken for incompetence”, with a clip of Johnson from a press conference claiming that he believed that the party was “a work event”.
The video also includes evidence, which shows things like a picture of Johnson indulging in cheese and wine in the garden of 10 Downing Street, with his wife Carrie and a number of their colleagues, and the clip of Allegra Stratton making jokes about the party in question.
The clip ends with Hastings telling Johnson: “If you have got one shred of compassion for all those families who sacrificed so much, who lost so much, you’ll go.
“And let them have done with you.”
What did Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio say about it?
Jed Mercurio, the creator and writer of popular BBC police drama Line of Duty, responded to the viral video, praising both it and Led By Donkeys.
Mercurio tweeted the video to his 215.4k followers, and added: “Brilliant work @ByDonkeys”.
Line of Duty follows the characters of DS Steve Arnott, DC Kate Fleming and Superintendent Ted Hastings, who work with the Anti-Corruption Unit 12. Throughout the series, the AC-12 team investigates cases regarding corruption within the police force.
Vicky McClure, whose character DC Kate Fleming appears in the parody video, also retweeted the video on Twitter.
Who are Led By Donkeys?
Led By Donkeys is a political campaign group which seeks to hold the Government accountable for its actions.
The group was created by four friends - Ben Stewart, James Sadri, Oliver Knowles and Will Rose - who revealed their originally anonymous identities in 2019.
Speaking to the Guardian about the decision to go public, Knowles said: “It feels like the right time to say who we are and defend our work and views. We’re proud of what we’ve done.”
The friends met at the Birdcage pub for a drink in mid-December, Theresa May had delayed the first scheduled Commons vote on her Brexit deal.
Stewart said: “It felt like the country had reached another level of chaos. We were looking at Cameron’s tweet from before the 2015 election, which was doing the rounds again, and pissing ourselves with laughter.
“We said it would be a real shame if he deleted it because it encapsulates the total failure of Britain’s political leadership.”
The tweet Stewart is referring to is that from 2015, when then Prime Minister David Cameron wrote: “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice - stability and strong government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband.”
It was then that the group decided to paste up prints of tweets from politicians on billboards and the like, to draw attention to their hypocrisy and lies.
What started as something that the friends undertook in their own time, between jobs and families, evolved into what would become the biggest crowdfunded political campaign in UK history.
As billboards went up around the country, a follower suggested that they set up a crowdfunder in order to help with costs of putting up the billboards.
Initially they set their fundraising target at £10,000, which was swiftly reached in just three hours. By November of 2019, the group had successfully raised £500,000.
The phrase “lions led by donkeys”, where the political groups name comes from, is one that is commonly used to describe WWI soldiers and the incompetent generals who led them.
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