Boris Johnson somehow looks set for an even worse week than the last one

Boris Johnson wearing a mask
Support us and go ad-free

Following a series of scandals he allegedly brought upon himself. Boris Johnson is facing perhaps the most difficult week since the start of his premiership. As dissatisfaction on the Conservative backbenches has grown, he heads into the next few days against a backdrop of rebellion. Meanwhile, the threat of the Omicron variant of coronavirus looms in the background – not to mention the rolling scandals linked to Christmas parties and questions of corruption.

As challenging as the week may prove for Johnson, however, others are noting that the real hard work will be – as ever – carried out by others.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Plan B

Johnson’s first big challenge comes on 14 December, as MPs are asked to approve the Plan B measures he has set out in a bid to stem the spread of Omicron. Already, more than 70 of his own MPs have signalled they either will, or are considering, opposing some of the plans.

Commenting on measures Johnson announced on 12 December, doctor Rachel Clarke argued that the government’s plans – much like in the early days of the pandemic – don’t go far enough:

Others questioned how seriously Johnson is taking the issue:

Coronavirus – Mon Dec 13, 2021
Boris Johnson watching others work (Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA)

Tory anger

Anger on the Conservative backbenches mainly centres on the introduction of coronavirus (Covid-19) passes – where a person must prove their vaccination status or that they have had a negative test – for large venues. However, the bad blood comes as Tory MPs have been left burned by their leader in recent weeks.

The standards row over former MP Owen Paterson left a sour taste in the mouths of many, as they felt they had been asked – and most obliged – to back the government in a difficult position, only to be left embarrassed when ministers U-turned. The resulting by-election in North Shropshire is on 16 December, and what should be a comfortable win for the Tories – Paterson had a majority of almost 23,000 – is now looking precarious.

Ill feeling has also been stirred up by the revelations of alleged parties held in Downing Street and elsewhere in government during lockdown restrictions. After denying any parties took place, Johnson has now asked Cabinet secretary Simon Case to investigate and report back, with the Times suggesting the outcome could come as early as the end of the week.

The Conservative Party leader also faces allegations that he misled his ethics adviser over what he knew about a controversial refurbishment of his No 11 flat.

Amid all of that, Johnson is attempting to convince the country that it’s essential to follow new coronavirus measures, as the Omicron variant threatens to put even more pressure on the NHS. In an address to the nation on 12 December, the prime minister called the variant a “tidal wave”, and brought forward the deadline for offering booster jabs to all adults.

However, the question ministers continue to face in interviews is whether the public health messaging has been undermined by the government’s – and Johnson’s – actions, and what that means for his future. On top of that, people are reporting issues with booking their booster and lateral flow tests:


Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The Tories will ditch Johnson. They will go for someone much more right-wing. There is now a strain of far-right, religious, fundamentalism in the Tory Party. Look at Baker who claims god upholds the Tory definition of liberty. Look at Rabb who stupidly claimed he doesn’t believe in economic or social rights. What, now even the economic right to run a business? Not even the social right to worship? Of course, Rabb thinks of these as natural rights, what he means by not believing in rights is that he doesn’t believe in anything which challenges the rich and powerful. Rights which empower the common folk he dismisses. The absolute right of the rich and powerful to rule, he takes for granted. Johnsosn will soon be gone and the Tories will sprint rightwards. The most serious threat just now is Rabb’s attack on the Human Rights Act. The European Convention of Human Rights enshrines the post-war determination that nothing like the Nazis shall happen again. Under the guise of defending liberty, the Tories are going to make it more likely. The HRA protects basic rights which a Bill of Rights will curtail. If they get away with this, the knock on your door at three in the morning becomes more possible. That’s what they call freedom.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.