03 September 2020 00:38
BORIS JOHNSON was accused of 'governing in hindsight' after presiding over a series of U-turns on coronavirus policy as he appeared before MPs for the first time since July. The prime minister faced the charge from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said Mr Johnson is 'tin eared' and 'making it up as he goes along'. Sir Keir said the prime minister's own MPs have 'run out of patience', following criticism from Tory backbenchers, which saw one describe events as a 'mega-disaster from one day to the next'. Mr Johnson dubbed his opposite number 'Captain Hindsight' following the exam results fiasco, saying he was 'leaping on a bandwagon, opposing a policy that he supported two weeks ago'. But the Labour leader, responding during Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, said: 'The problem is he's governing in hindsight, that's why he's making so many mistakes.' Mr Johnson was chastised during the exchanges by the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who urged him to 'try and answer the questions being put to the prime minister'.
The government performed another U-turn as PMQs was under way, with health secretary Matt Hancock announcing that coronavirus restrictions in Bolton and Trafford would remain in place on the day they were due to be lifted. Mr Hancock said: 'Following a significant change in the level of infection rates over the last few days, a decision has been taken that Bolton and Trafford will now remain under existing restrictions.' Mr Johnson has been under fire from Conservative backbenchers over the recent U-turns on issues such as face coverings and exam results. Along with chancellor Rishi Sunak, he will later meet with the 2019 intake of Tory MPs — some of whom are said to be 'jittery' that they may lose their seats at the next election. One of those attending the meeting said that the mood among the cohort was 'fairly grim'. 'Most are fed up of being made to look stupid and the membership are angry at how we look incompetent,' they said. Yesterday, Mr Johnson told ministers that in the last few months they have been 'sailing into the teeth of a gale, no question' when chairing his first cabinet meeting after the return. He said: 'And I am no great nautical expert, but sometimes it is necessary to tack here and there in response to the facts as they change, in response to the wind's change, but we have been going steadily in the direction, in the course we set out, and we have not been blown off that course.'