THE inquiry – the time-honoured way to evade responsibility. All the more so in cases of wrongdoing, breaching laws and regulations with consequences.

These inquiries displace what should all too often be criminal prosecutions and politicians know full well inquiries can last months even years by which time public opinion has moved on. Exactly the outcome those seeking to evade justice want to see.

Currently we have a civil servant Sue Gray, running an inquiry into the multiple reports of Downing Street lockdown party gatherings.

She’s the second secretary to get involved as the first permanent secretary, Simon Case, had to step down over allegations his office threw one or more drinks parties.

The system is so corrupted we cannot rely on the highest level public officers charged with upholding law and due process.

The laws on lockdown gatherings since March 2020 could not be clearer. It is all laid out in multiple legislation, In this case of Downing Street partying, the offence is “Organised Gatherings Offence with a maximum penalty £10,000, a criminal offence. It’s a matter for the police to take up.

If not how can any government expect the public to support Covid protection measures?

Who is going to report major breaches when we have the Prime Minister’s residence breaching regulations they expect the rest of us to uphold.

They are treating the general public - the lower orders - with contempt and indeed, treating the highest in our realm with huge disrespect, at the gravest of times. Confidence in this prime minister and government is now utterly destroyed. There is no way back. The only way forward a General Election.