OUR Prime Minister is keen on Latin, so here’s a phrase he may like to discuss with Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, during their next opportunity to chat to each other in the House of Commons tea room – “qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent.”

Loosely translated, this means “when you lay down with dogs, you rise up with fleas.”

Looking at the excuse Mr Walker reached for when defending Boris Johnson’s lockdown-busting booze up, it seems that too much time spent in Mr Johnson’s presence may have rubbed off on the MP for Worcester.

For Mr Walker, the infamous ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ party at the height of the first lockdown was “motivated by trying to keep morale up of staff who were working very hard through the pandemic”.

It wasn’t just Westminster functionaries who worked hard during the first lockdown.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital switched to a war footing, with staff risking their lives each day; in our care homes, staff cared for residents cut off from family, many of whom were unable to even understand why.

Similarly, morale was hit badly across the city. Parents of young children, now juggling teaching and work, didn’t know a moment of peace in those early months. People on furlough worried about the future. Above all though, the group that sacrificed the most was the bereaved, watching funerals on Zoom, the wake-less services a cold and stark substitute for the proper farewells their loved ones deserved.

Out here in the world beyond Boris Johnson’s Westminster though, however hard we worked or however badly our morale was dented, we didn’t see rule-breaking as a special treat. Neither, of course, did the police, who since the start of the pandemic have handed out over 100,000 fines for lockdown violations, a number of which have been processed through Worcester Magistrates Court.

If Mr Walker has come to believe rules are optional when times get tough, he’s got far more in common with Boris Johnson than we might think.