Covid Inquiry: Boris Johnson has left it far too late for an apology
Speaking to the panel today (6 December) Johnson is expected to be well and truly under the microscope, with questions about why the UK did not go into lockdown sooner, whether he underestimated Covid-19 at the outset of the pandemic and claims that he was "bamboozled" when infection data was presented to him.
Those within the political inner circles are expecting the former PM to apologise to the victims of the pandemic for his and his government's failings. However, the extent to which he will cave and admit to mistakes remains to be seen.
For those who lost family and friends during the pandemic, his apology would not only come too late, but does little to ease the broken hearts left behind by his evident trailblazing incompetence. There was no apology in his resignation speech, when that was the opportune time to give one, but his double-decker-sized ego chose to instead focus on the support being given to Ukraine against Russia and the claim of a successful Brexit.
He did apologise for the "bring your own booze" party held in Downing Street, but only because he got caught. Had he got away with it, the world would have continued blissfully unaware of the flagrant hypocrisy in the capital. During the course of the inquiry, we have already heard apologies from the likes of David Cameron, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock - and while these may have been sincere, they provide no comfort for those of us who lost those closest to us.
On a personal level, my mother died of cancer in September 2020 - due to living in a different town and the merry-go-round of lockdown restrictions, I wasn't able to see her until the night before she passed away, when I got dispensation from the hospice to do so. Of course, we have no way of knowing if an earlier lockdown would have reopened the country sooner, but the thought of garden parties, in-person quizzes and the like, taking place in Downing Street while my mother laid in bed, dying on a ventilator while the most I could give her was a Zoom call, makes my blood boil to this day.
I locked eyes with (and photographed) Johnson last year when he made a surprise visit to Southampton Airport - he should thank his lucky stars that both security and airport staff stopped me from interviewing him; hopefully in my stead, Hugo Keith KC can give him the reality-check pasting that he so thoroughly deserves.
The best he can do is unreservedly apologise, admit the multitude of failings made during the course of the pandemic and help the inquiry build its case, so that when the next pandemic strikes fewer people are forced to watch their loved ones dying through a video call.