Boris Johnson is spending England’s so-called ‘freedom day‘ at Chequers following an embarrassing U-turn on moves designed to swerve quarantine rules.
Mr Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak – who were both “pinged” by NHS Test and Trace after coming into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid – initially tried to get around the requirement to self-isolate by saying they would join a daily workplace testing programme being trialled by the Cabinet Office and Number 10.
However, they were forced into a hasty reversal on Sunday amid widespread public anger at their “special treatment” while tens of thousands of people were being forced to miss work or school and stay home.
Here he is trying to make up for his awful decision yesterday:
Like so many people I’ve been pinged by NHS Test and Trace as I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and I will be self-isolating until Monday 26th July. pic.twitter.com/X57gDpwDqe— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 18, 2021
This morning vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi admitted the government “don’t get every decision right” and said the prime minister had to rethink his initial decision.
Asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain whether an error had been made in announcing that the Cabinet ministers would take part in the pilot, Mr Zahawi said:
“Of course, and as soon as the prime minister realised that this would be wrong, he came out very clearly and said ‘We will self-isolate, that’s the right thing to do’.”
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the PM had “done the right thing” by self-isolating and denied that it had been “damaging” for the Downing Street incumbent to have considered taking part in the testing scheme, which is not widely available to the public.
However, many people saw the video and made their own minds up about Johnson’s conduct yesterday, and these are the finest comments.
Comb your hair. Take the knee. And fuck off out of our lives— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) July 18, 2021
“We did look briefly at the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allowed people to test daily – but then we were widely criticised for being hypocrites and evinced a rapid U turn because we though it might play badly in the Red Wall.”— Otto English (@Otto_English) July 18, 2021
There – fixed it for you. https://t.co/rc85GtGupc
There now follows a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Pinocchio Party. https://t.co/GujCm7eB9R— Her Holiness Pope Mrs Trellis, the 1st (@theonlywayisup) July 18, 2021
He also recorded one where he said he wasn’t going to self-isolate. https://t.co/UsI3zOLU0g— David Schneider (@davidschneider) July 18, 2021
I guess at Eton they teach a different word for sorry. https://t.co/g6sAO27O3y— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) July 18, 2021
Today I was pinged by Test and Trace. I decided that the rules didn’t apply to me and sent a Cabinet Minister out to defend that decision. Then I got cold feet so just pretended that second bit didn’t happen.— Parody Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson_MP) July 18, 2021
PS: has anyone got a comb? pic.twitter.com/FE1Dd0AeUD
Just so you know BJ…I wasn’t born yesterday… https://t.co/UHuVaiSK3S— Deborah Meaden ? (@DeborahMeaden) July 18, 2021
He’s got boxer shorts on there hasn’t he ? https://t.co/go3zvn99OH— Gary Neville (@GNev2) July 18, 2021
See? If you really believe your forelock-tugging fans are utterly, utterly stupid you can flog them any old bobbins. https://t.co/RyF0rE4RDV— James O’Brien (@mrjamesob) July 18, 2021
Except unlike everyone else you tried to get out of self-isolation.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) July 18, 2021
You are only doing it now because you were publicly shamed for showing your arrogant and entitled self.
We won’t let you forget it. https://t.co/4oltLn065V
I have a comb I’m not using if you want one https://t.co/D6TSITJhwu— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) July 18, 2021
Hypocrite says what?— Dr Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) July 18, 2021
Suggest you stay off Twitter today, Boris Johnson. A lobotomised haystack has higher intellectual credibility than you.
July 18, 2021
Leaders can get away with this stuff in Russia/China as they have no functioning democracy. The fact he is allowed to in the UK shames us all— Alan Weston (@alanweston) July 18, 2021
And this is a VERY good point
Can I ask why at 8.00am we were told you were isolating at Downing Street and then at 10.38am you were isolating at Chequers ? Have you travelled against your own guidelines or as usual you just don’t care about the rest of us and follow your own rules ?— WrightD ? (@fredicca) July 18, 2021
Related: Nadhim Zahawi stumped as expert warns UK is ‘creating a more dangerous virus’ by opening up