Leicester Mercury

Boris’ shortcomin­gs costing us all dear


ONE headline in my newspaper caught my eye last week: “PM’s appeal has plunged.”

It accompanie­d the story that the latest opinion poll of Conservati­ve voters shows that more than 25 per cent of them disapprove of Boris Johnson’s performanc­e and management of the government, compared with a few weeks ago.

This is not a surprise to me, but is hopefully an eye-opener for some readers.

Boris Johnson’s people management style has numerous shortcomin­gs and increasing­ly this is becoming more critical.

There is also his failure to hold up standards of decent behaviour. We noticed this in his handling of Dominic Cummings’ ill-advised trip to Durham.

Instead of firing him straight away, he ignored or underplaye­d Cummings’ disregard for the Covid restrictio­ns.

There are several instances of ministers misbehavin­g in public office and getting away with it, including Priti Patel, who was found to have bullied her staff and officers in the Home Office.

Her top civil servant, Sir Philip Rutman, who felt that under the regime of Priti Patel he was subjected to a “vicious, orchestrat­ed briefing’’ campaign, resigned and made a claim for constructi­ve dismissal. The courts found in his favour and awarded him damages of £376,000, including a £30,000 contributi­on towards his legal expenses.

This was paid by the Home Office plus a sizeable amount for its own legal costs.

So, cynically, the taxpayers had to cough up for this.

We have had numerous articles during the Covid-19 pandemic of the government granting commercial contracts to friends in high places, many of whom were not really experience­d or equipped to carry out the work envisaged in these contracts. There are also numerous examples of sheer incompeten­ce.

In April last year, our Department of Health and Social Care, under the leadership of the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock, signed a contract with Uniserve Plc for 80 million Type 11R face masks at a cost of 87p a mask. The contract was worth about £5.8 million per year.

At that time, the going rate for such masks was just 51p each, so, the department overpaid about £28.8 million on this contract. Obviously, the full cost was borne by us, the innocent taxpayers. I strongly believe it is a time for change.

Suresh Chauhan, Leicester

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom