politics explained

UK Covid-19 Inquiry: 10 questions for Boris Johnson to answer

For a man whose ambition remains unquenched, this will be a deeply uncomfortable ordeal, writes Sean O’Grady

Tuesday 05 December 2023 15:26 GMT
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<p>Behind bars: former prime minister Boris Johnson, pictured with his ex-chief adviser Dominic Cummings</p>

Behind bars: former prime minister Boris Johnson, pictured with his ex-chief adviser Dominic Cummings

Perhaps surprisingly, over his long and eventful life, Boris Johnson has never been on trial.

Certainly, he has extensive experience of the legal system: divorces; other difficult matters in his private life; the ever-present risk of libel; unconstitutional behaviour subject to judgment in the Supreme Court; the celebrated appearance at the privileges committee hearing; countless parking fines; even a fixed penalty notice for breaking his own lockdown rules.

But when he faces Hugo Keith KC and the other lawyers at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, it will be the first time he will have come under sustained questioning by a team of top barristers. Given his blustering performance before Harriet Harman and the Commons select committee, his tendency to go off-piste, his characteristic impatience and general “broad-brush” approach to executive decisions, it’s not certain that he’ll make a good impression as a witness.

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