Inquiry on Covid: Boris Johnson likened to an 'absent football team manager'

Published: Mar. 26, 2024

"The UK's prime minister, Boris Johnson, operated much like a 'missing' football team manager amidst the COVID-19 pandemic." This claim comes from an unexpected source, the first minister of Wales. But what could lead to such a bold comparison?

In a written record to the Covid Enquiry, Mark Drakeford, the departing leader of Wales, created an intriguing critique of Johnson's leadership during the crisis. He indicated that Boris Johnson, who was the prime minister at the time, did not show up to crucial forums. Instead, another figure seemed to step into the limelight, outshining Johnson in terms of influence.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, emerged as the more influential presence. According to Drakeford, Gove demonstrated his skills as an adept 'lead minister', filling up the vacuum seemingly left by the prime minister. However, Drakeford’s words paint a captivating image of a 'centre forward without a team lined up behind him'. In his view, Gove was leading with little backup.

The most shocking portion of Drakeford's statement was his description of an 'absent manager'. His words indicted the prime minister, who, according to Drakeford, 'was never at these meetings or at the table'. Gove, although a senior minister, seemed to carry most of the weight, exhibiting 'influence rather than the determinative'.

Are Drakeford's claims a clear cut truth, or is there another side to this story? As we delve deeper into the facts surrounding these claims, one thing is clear - there is more to this metaphor of absent football managers and game players than meets the eye. Stay tuned for more revelations surrounding the UK's pandemic leadership.


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