The Covid inquiry has proved to be a trial of reputations for the big beasts of the 2020 government and none more so than for the then prime minister Boris Johnson who appears for the first time on Wednesday. His handling of two days of intense questioning may prove the most important 48 hours of his public life as he surely knows it will shape how his three-year premiership is judged by history.
More immediately, it will also dictate whether he can attempt a spectacular political comeback – his supporter-in-chief Andrew Gimson revealing that even now he “burns with a desire to prove the decision by his own MPs to sack him was a mistake”. Johnson’s intention is apparently to present a “strong case” for being given a second chance at power – and that he has been greatly wronged.
With Labour a massive 23 points ahead in the polls, he is said to believe that he could return (just like his hero Silvio Berlusconi did in Italy) as his party’s only possible hope of salvation – and his own. In truth, there is probably nothing Johnson fears more than a shrinking life of small children, overseas speaking engagements, the odd appearance on GB News and the boos he received from fellow diners at Moro, a Hackney restaurant where his son Theo had been working. Even rumours that he might be parachuted in to edit The Daily Telegraph have recently faded.
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