Boris Johnson is facing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus crisis after a report in the Sunday Times accused his government of a string of alleged errors in its response.
The report alleges that Johnson skipped five meetings of the Britain’s crisis response group Cobra. The prime minister only attended Cobra meetings on the virus after more than 40 people had been infected in the UK, according to the report.
Long before Johnson contracted coronavirus himself, which led him to take some time off to recuperate, the report suggests that he and other government ministers including Matt Hancock were slow to react to the crisis. It even says that Johnson went on several weekends away to his country residence as the crisis approached. Most shockingly, the report suggests that failings in February might have caused "thousands" more deaths in the UK.
Following the release of the article, Johnson hasn't yet responded directly. But his ally Michael Gove has described the allegations as “grotesque”. Labour, on the other hand, have accused Johnson of being “missing in action” in critical moments.
On social media, various hashtags calling for Johnson’s resignation began to trend.
People then started comparing Johnson to former prime minister Neville Chamberlain.
If you’re unfamiliar with this comparison, Chamberlain is known in history as a bit of a wet blanket prime minister who bungled Britain’s initial response to World War 2 and was replaced by Winston Churchill as the war got underway.
In short, Chamberlain’s name is a bit of a euphemism for a leader having “bottled it” whereas Churchill is known for swooping in and saving the day (even if he also did some not-so-great things, but we'll not get into that now).
So no one wants to be compared to Chamberlain, basically.
But on Twitter lots of people compared Johnson to Chamberlain for what they perceive as his bungled response.
7/ The rational course of action would be for the Tories to sack Johnson. He's turned out to be Chamberlain not Chu… https://t.co/NnKwEZjAg8