Steerpike

The Daily Mail’s curious partygate U-turn

The Daily Mail's curious partygate U-turn
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The Daily Mail has long been the favoured mid-market newspaper of the masses, as the self-styled champion of Middle England. Its leaders are thumping; its splashes a must-read: so tight is its grip on the public imagination. Not for nothing do ministers live in fear of finding themselves in the paper's crosshairs, given its reputation for having its finger on the pulse. Still, this morning Mr S can't help wondering: has the Mail gone off the boil?

For Mr S was curious to see yet another frenzied front page this morning declaiming Westminster's focus on partygate as 'A nation that's lost all sense of proportion'.  It follows last week's effort which told partygate plotters 'In the name of God, grow up!' All that would be fine if the paper which has been making such a fuss about alleged rule-breaking wasn't, er, the Daily Mail. For it was the same organ which screamed just two weeks ago on 11 January: 'Boris rocked by new party allegations,' following it up the following day with 'Is the party over for PM?' completing the hat-trick on 13 January with 'Operation Save Boris'.

Indeed, of the paper's last fifteen editions over the past three weeks, no less than eight front pages have featured variations on parties – a reflection, perhaps, of the widespread anger that the public feel about it, as polls have repeatedly shown. Even today, despite its efforts to dismiss the scandal, the Mail devotes no less than seven pages to aspects of partygate including its splash, two spreads, a furious comment piece from Stephen Robinson and a 2,000-word full-page leader explaining why it isn't a story.

Could it be that the Mail has misread the mood on this one?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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