When historians look back on Boris Johnson’s time in No 10, the 100,000-plus deaths from coronavirus will be his legacy, over riding Brexit.
Almost a year on from the first known Covid-19 death on January 30 2020, the Prime Minister stood in Downing Street and said he was “deeply sorry” to announce the latest grim milestone as official figures showed 100,162 deaths – although the true total is higher still, and rising.
“I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done,” he said, but insisted: “We truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering.”
Gone is the figure who spoke last March of shaking hands with people in hospital, replaced with a leader who has held his country under draconian social restrictions for close to a year.
The surge in cases by January, spurred on by the new variant, led Mr Johnson to clamp England into a third lockdown, with no end yet in sight for when it will be lifted.
The Prime Minister will know that coronavirus will present fresh issues in the year to come, as well.
The anti-lockdown voices on the Tory benches have grown and there is an economy versus health battle re-emerging, with businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, warning they cannot take much more, while some scientists say they fear releasing restrictions too fast will lead to another surge in cases.
This morning on GMB presenter Ben Shepherd asked Dr. Rachel Clarke “when you hear Boris Johnson say we’ve done everything we can, how does that make you & your colleagues feel?”
She replied: “I was absolutely sickened when I heard him say that, because it was patently & obviously a lie.”