Boris Johnson launches plan to Save Big Dog with Operation Hangdog

The prime minister has explained himself, again. But what we really want to know, writes John Rentoul, is if he actually lied to parliament

Wednesday 19 January 2022 12:08
<p>‘Nobody told me’, claims Boris Johnson </p>

‘Nobody told me’, claims Boris Johnson

The prime minister adopted the most mournful expression that was possible with most of his face covered by a mask. Which meant the eyes had to do the work, looking down when he was asked about apologising to the Queen for the parties the night before her husband’s funeral, and looking wide and pleading at Beth Rigby of Sky News, who was asking the questions.

The answers were carefully worded, quite at odds with Boris Johnson’s reputation for careless bluster and inventive use of language. He was on a visit to a hospital to send a message that the government was getting on with delivering the people’s priorities, namely clearing the NHS backlog, but the only question journalists were interested in was whether he had lied to parliament.

The context of his answer to that question was an oxymoronic apology for “misjudgements that were made” (by persons unknown) “... for which I take full responsibility”. But the taking of full responsibility was offered as a general defence against how the drinks in the Downing Street garden looks “in retrospect”, because “I understand people’s feelings” and that they “feel as strongly as they do”.

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