Voices: Boris Johnson is the worst prime minister of my lifetime – and I grew up under Thatcher

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Johnson has debased the office of prime minister (EPA/Getty)
Johnson has debased the office of prime minister (EPA/Getty)

He is finally gone and not a moment too soon. I never thought I would say this – I am after all a Thatcher baby, born into a socialist home of union activists and feminist warriors – but Boris Johnson is the worst prime minister of my lifetime.

My husband has historically always tried to stick up for David Cameron in this game of Top Trumps; he loathes him for his cavalier attitude that led our country to such risk, and the way he blithely walked away. Until recently, my father wouldn’t hear of anyone trying to topple Margaret Thatcher from her top spot, but we all now agree that Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson wears the crown.

Mr Johnson has debased the office of prime minister. He has debased our country’s standing in the world, he has broken the law. He has tried to poison the well with division and he has ostracised group after group, because it seems to me he thought that division helped him. It didn’t matter if it was harming the country or hurting its people, so long as he remained unscathed.

He lied and he lied again, even in the last death throes of his premiership. The prime minister sent a junior minister to the despatch box of the House of Commons to claim that when he was foreign secretary, he did meet with ex-KGB member Alexander Lebedev ( a fact that minister after minister has tried to dodge for months) but that he had told officials about it. Yet even that quickly turned into, “I think I told officials”.

Now he wants to stay on as prime minister until a new leader is in place, a fact that Keir Starmer has made very clear will not be tolerable to the Labour Party – or the country. This is, after all, a man who has been toppled because he once again lied about what he knew about Chris Pincher, who’s been accused of drunkenly groping two men, about previous allegations of sexual misconduct. He promoted Mr Pincher anyway. Boris Johnson didn’t care because it was good for Boris Johnson. That’s what he does. He must go – not stay on as a so-called “caretaker”. He must go now.

A man who does these things – a man who apparently “cannot remember” if he had secret meetings with former KGB officials in the middle of the Salisbury poisoning; a man who lies and who managed to command enough people in the Conservative Party to lie and obfuscate and lower standards on his behalf should not be the prime minister of our country. I don’t know how the Conservative Party and its MPs have stomached his behaviour for so long.

His ministers are all of a sudden finding (and writing, in their heartfelt resignation letters) that they care about the standards of honesty and integrity. Have they been watching this show on mute? There were some pretty big clues, I mean there were some clues when he was the Mayor of London. Scrap that – there were some clues when he was at Oxford. I would be willing to bet there are even school reports from Eton that point out that this boy is a selfish narcissist.

I am sorry, but it doesn’t wash with me now that Tory MPs all so suddenly care deeply about honesty and integrity. What they care about is that Mr Johnson is no longer popular – and won’t provide them with the power that they want. It’s a fair thing to care about in politics, but I wish they would say that rather than pretending that this Mr Pincher scandal was a revelation. Mr Johnson was always unfit for office.

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Honestly, if they hadn’t spied that Mr Johnson was a man who would allow bad – even criminal – behaviour from his allies and friends as long as it served him, then they are not fit for political office, let alone ministerial high office. The Tories have proven they cannot be trusted with our country. They have ruled for 12 years – yet our country is economically stagnant and our public services are all on the brink.

They trusted and served an obvious charlatan – and many now pleading integrity and standards in their letters expect the country to pretend it wasn’t them who propped him up. Many of them seem to think they should become the next prime minister.

I am glad that what has been a frenetic few days is over. Boris Johnson is now in his bunker, probably still trying to plot how he could turn this battle into a way to divide the country and make this about “parliament vs the people”. His playbook of pretending not to be the establishment – while sitting in 10 Downing Street holding nearly the highest office in the land – rings hollow.

He wanted us all to believe that he was a president of the world, but he is not even the president of the UK – he doesn’t have a mandate of 14 million, he is just the MP for Uxbridge in a parliamentary democracy. I doubt he will even hold that title for very long, because I imagine he will wait around to find out what the will of the people really is.

I doubt very much that he knows how to do the actual job of a constituency MP, because that means caring for other people – something he has proved himself incapable of.

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