Ex-premier Johnson set for grilling at UK Covid inquiry


Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson will face tough questioning at a public inquiry Wednesday over his government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, after a barrage of criticism from his former aides.

Johnson, who has been accused of indecisiveness and a lack of scientific understanding, is expected to admit that he “unquestionably made mistakes” during two days of grilling in London.

Nearly 130,000 people died with Covid in the UK by mid-July 2021, one of the worst official per capita tolls among Western nations.

But Johnson appears ready to insist the decisions he took ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives, the Times newspaper reported, citing a written statement that has not yet been published.


The Times said he would argue he had a “basic confidence that things would turn out alright” on the “fallacious logic” that previous health threats had not proven as catastrophic as feared.

But he is expected to say that overall, the government succeeded in its main goal of preventing the state-run health service from being overwhelmed by making the “right decisions at the right times”.

He will also say that while the country’s death toll was high, it defied most of the gloomiest predictions and “ended the pandemic well down the global league table of excess mortality”.

According to The Times, Johnson, who quit in part because of revelations about lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street, has reviewed 6,000 pages of evidence and spent hours in talks with lawyers.