Public Affairs & Government Relations

COVID-19 UK Political Analysis by Tim Hames – 9th April 2020

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Being Boris. The attributes of an unusual politician and their relevance to the coronavirus crisis.

A year ago exactly, Theresa May was then Prime Minister, her Withdrawal Agreement with the EU had been defeated for a third time and she was about to accept another extension of Article 50, on this occasion to expire on October 31 2019. Boris Johnson was on the backbenches having resigned as Foreign Secretary some nine months earlier. Although he was the bookmakers’ favourite to be Mrs May’s successor, on the basis of his undoubted popularity within Conservative Party members, there were real doubts among even his closest supporters, never mind the wider commentariat, as to whether there were enough Conservative MPs willing to take the risk of making him their leader.

So, how did Boris (the fact that he is the only politician in the UK known universally by a given name alone speaks volumes) somehow transition from a bumbling buffoon to a national necessity? With a long Bank Holiday weekend coming up, it is perhaps worth reflecting upon his exceptionally unusual political attributes and characteristics, and their possible relevance to the coronavirus crisis.

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