The Independent View

Boris Johnson was the wrong prime minister at the wrong time

Editorial: The former prime minister’s evidence to the Covid inquiry confirmed him as a weak and inconsistent leader

Wednesday 06 December 2023 19:55 GMT
(Dave Brown)

The words of Lee Cain, Boris Johnson’s former director of communications, hung over his old boss’s evidence to the Covid inquiry. “Covid,” he said, “was the wrong crisis for this prime minister’s skillset.”

He can say that again. But he does not need to, because so many other people are saying it, too – including, by implication, Mr Johnson himself, whose wavering and inconsistent evidence today confirmed the impression of him as someone incapable of making up his mind.

The inquiry heard from the politician who wrote an article arguing one side of a case and then another article arguing the other side. There are great advantages in intellectual openness, and in testing the strengths of different arguments from different viewpoints, and Mr Johnson always displays a great deal of pluralism. Unfortunately, he neither seems to have focused sufficiently on the detail, nor to have decided a broad approach and stuck to it.

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