I’M a great believer in cause and effect, that our actions and decisions should have consequences for good or ill and that people should be judged by what they do, not what they say they are going to do.

For all those reasons, I’ve been giving some thought to Warrington South’s Tory MP Andy Carter.

I’ve never met Mr Carter, although someone I know well spent an hour or so with him some months back and was quite impressed with him.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Mr Carter and how the shenanigans in the Conservative government sit with him. I suspect he is a decent, honourable man and I wonder what he thinks about the actions of some of his colleagues?

First up we have home secretary Priti Patel. Allegations of bullying by Ms Patel were investigated by Sir Alex Allan in his role as the independent adviser. In November last year, he reported that the home secretary “had not consistently met the high standards expected of her under the Ministerial Code.” Ms Patel issued an apology but didn’t resign and Boris Johnson didn’t call for her resignation.

So no consequences for Ms Patel.

Then we come to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, who broke the law when the government handed a £560,000 Covid contract to a business he had “personal connections” with, the High Court ruled.

Justice O’Farrell found that the Cabinet Office’s contract with PR firm Public First was ‘unlawful’ and ‘gave rise to apparent bias’.

Any consequences for Mr Gove? Well, at the time of writing, there are none whatsoever.

How about Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing? In January 2020, Jenrick overruled the Planning Inspectorate and approved a £1bn luxury housing development for Richard Desmond, a Conservative Party donor. Jenrick's decision saved Desmond's company up to £50 million in tax.

Later that year, Jenrick accepted that his approval of the development had been unlawful.

You may not be surprised to hear that Mr Jenrick has faced absolutely no consequences.

Oh, and let’s not forget Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He has faced, and is still facing, multiple investigations, including the London Assembly's ongoing investigation into Johnson's relationship with American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri and whether he adhered to the ‘principles of public life’; and an investigation into the funding of a 2019 holiday Johnson took with his then fiancée, Carrie Symonds, on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

What have been the consequences for Johnson? You guessed it…apparently none.

But the effect of the complete disregard of ministerial standards may actually be cumulative and maybe they are starting to play out at the ballot box.

If you consider the result from the Chesham and Amersham by-election, previously loyal Tory voters turned against the party and voted in a Lib Dem MP. One of the reasons put forward was that traditional One Nation Tory voters were unhappy with what they saw as the lack of moral standards of the ruling Conservatives.

Then on to the Batley and Spen by-election which the Tories were really confident of winning.

Step forward Matt Hancock, the former health secretary who resigned after being caught on camera in an amorous clinch with an aide he appointed (but paid for by us, the taxpayers).

When asked if asked if Mr Hancock's resignation had damaged the campaign, Johnson said: "I think what people are focused on is that we want to have a positive change in Batley."

Spoken like a man who isn’t used to facing consequences for his actions (or in this case lack of action in not immediately sacking Hancock.)

On Friday morning, after Labour’s Batley and Spen victory, Conservative co-chair Amanda Milling told Sky News that Hancock's breaching of coronavirus regulations had prompted concern from local voters.

"It was something that came up on the doorstep, I have to be honest about that," Ms Milling said.

Perhaps what we have witnessed in those two by-elections is there are political consequences after all.