Published On: Sat, Apr 18th, 2020

Boris Johnson missed FIVE emergency cobra meetings in early stages of coronavirus response | UK | News

Boris Johnson skipped five cobra meetings on the coronavirus outbreak at the start of the year, before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The Prime Minister missed a number of emergency meetings, which is attended by leading ministers, intelligence chiefs and other experts, in January and February just as the outbreak was started to worsen, the Sunday Times reports.

Mr Johnson was absent from one meeting, yet found the time to join in a lunar new year dragon eyes ritual to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 

The other meetings were understood to have been skipped in order to prioritise his personal life and other domestic issues, such as Brexit and his cabinet reshuffle.

The Prime Minister then spent two weeks of the half-term break with his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

The first cobra meeting attended by Mr Johnson was on March 2, when the outbreak had already started to grip the country. 

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As a result, one senior Government adviser has heavily criticised Mr Johnson for lack of leadership.

They told the newspaper: “There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there.

“And what you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends.

“It was like working for an old-fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago.

“There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning.

“It was exactly like people feared he would be.”

More to follow…

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