I’m very proud to have supported Boris for Prime Minister and I’m very grateful that he did deliver on that promise to leave the EU, and that he delivered a world-beating vaccine rollout. Only this week, I have been urging him to ensure that Britain is the first country in the northern hemisphere to leave the pandemic and its restrictions behind.
Boris once wrote an acclaimed biography of Sir Winston Churchill. Some commentators believe that he sees parallels between that great wartime leader and himself. Both were eligible for US citizenship, both were journalists before becoming politicians and, no doubt, both had exhibited an extraordinary gift for language.
But Sir Winston and Boris’ most important parallel has been as leaders in times of great peril. Whether it was the threat of Nazi Germany or the twin challenges of breaking a national stalemate and protecting us through a global pandemic we have been immeasurably stronger with them at the helm than without.
But winning the war is not the same as winning the peace. Those misdemeanours that to an extent can be excused at times when results are the only thing that matters become far more important as we return to normal.
The clue is in the word leader; to lead is to set an example for others to follow. It is to completely understand that you will not ask members of the public to take on privations that you are not willing to abide by yourself. It is, unequivocally, a case of leading by example.
It has hurt this week to hear that the leader of our great Conservative Party has not been prepared to lead in such a way. Claims by the Prime Minister that he did not know that he was attending a party seem at best misguided and at worst cynical.
But it isn’t the hurt caused to me or my fellow Conservative MPs that is important, but rather the hurt caused to all those families who went without, whose loved ones died alone, whose funerals went unattended and whose livelihoods were lost that Mr Johnson has truly failed.
Sadly, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable.