Boris Johnson arrives three hours early at Covid inquiry ahead of two-day evidence session – UK politics live | Politics #Boris #Johnson #arrives #hours #early #Covid #inquiry #ahead #twoday #evidence #session #politics #live #Politics

Key events

In a recent edition of his The Rest is Politics podcast, which he co-hosts with Rory Stewart, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief, recalled giving evidence to one of the Iraq inquiries. (I don’t think he was clear whether it was Hutton or Chilcot.) There were going to be protesters outside, and Campbell said he was offered the chance of going in by the back door. He refused, he said, and insisted on going in through the main entrance, ignoring the shouting.

This is what he posted on X this morning about Johnson dodging the protests at the Covid inquiry this morning.

What a coward. When the pandemic came he couldn’t be arsed to get from his bed in Chequers to Cobra meetings. But when there is a risk of being confronted by the consequences of his inactions he sneaks in as early as he can. Contemptible

What a coward. When the pandemic came he couldn’t be arsed to get from his bed in Chequers to Cobra meetings. But when there is a risk of being confronted by the consequences of his inactions he sneaks in as early as he can. Contemptible https://t.co/5iUmbN6rA2

— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) December 6, 2023

Asked about Boris Johnson arriving three hours early for the Covid inquiry this morning, Chris Philp, the policing minister, joked “it’s the first time Boris has ever been early for anything”.

A van displaying a protest banner parked outside the Covid inquiry this morning.
A van displaying a protest banner parked outside the Covid inquiry this morning. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Protesters outside the Covid inquiry this morning.
Protesters outside the Covid inquiry this morning. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA
Protesters outside the Covid inquiry this morning.
Protesters outside the Covid inquiry this morning. Photograph: Maja Smiejkowska/Reuters

Outside the Covid inquiry representatives of families who lost loved ones during the pandemic are holding a mini press conference ahead of Boris Johnson’s evidence. Aamer Anwar, lead solicitor for the Scottish Covid Bereaved, was the first speaker. He said the evidence presented to the inquiry so far had presented “a deadly culture of impunity, of incompetence, of arrogance and blaming everyone else but themselves”.

Boris Johnson arrives early at Covid inquiry and is expected to say he got ‘most of the big calls right’

Good morning. Boris Johnson has never been known for his punctuality. As a journalist he was famous for submitting his articles well beyond the deadline, and as PM he was not one of those ministers obsessed with starting and finishing meetings on time.

But this morning he arrived three hours early at the Covid inquiry, where he is due to start a two-day evidence session at 10am. Perhaps he’s got some last-minute reading to do. The fact that he managed to get in before relatives of people who died in the pandemic, who have been outside protesting at some hearings, were present may just have been a fortuitous bonus.

Henry Zeffman from the BBC has a picture.

Boris Johnson has just arrived at the Covid inquiry.

We’re expecting him to apologise that the government wasn’t as prepared for the pandemic as it should have been but to argue he got the big calls right.

More on @BBCBreakfast shortly pic.twitter.com/i4jPtRExzR

— Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) December 6, 2023

When he left office, Johnson’s supporters used to claim that, on Covid, he got “all the big calls right”. More recently some of the briefing by his allies has settled on the line that he got most of the big calls right. The next two days will help to determine how the inquiry – and history – assesses his performance as a pandemic PM, and the final judgment is likely to be a bit closer to the “he didn’t get everything wrong” category.

As Peter Walker, Pippa Crerar and Ben Quinn report in their preview story, Johnson has been criticised for the extensive briefing about what he is going to say that has already appeared in the papers.

I will be focusing mostly on the Covid inquiry today. But I will break away to cover PMQs at noon, and if there are any other big political stories, they will feature too. We are still waiting for the government to finalise and publish its legislation intended to enable Rwanda deportation flights to go ahead, and that is expected before the end of the week.

If you want to contact me, do try the “send us a message” feature. You’ll see it just below the byline – on the left of the screen, if you are reading on a laptop or a desktop. This is for people who want to message me directly. I find it very useful when people message to point out errors (even typos – no mistake is too small to correct). Often I find your questions very interesting, too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either in the comments below the line; privately (if you leave an email address and that seems more appropriate); or in the main blog, if I think it is a topic of wide interest.


#Boris #Johnson #arrives #hours #early #Covid #inquiry #ahead #twoday #evidence #session #politics #live #Politics

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