The sunday times

Chris Mullin’s eye for the absurd remains as keen as ever

Journalists seldom get to the top in politics. They find it hard to trot out the dreary virtue-signalling that political communication often requires. Chris Mullin, I suspect, finds it almost impossible. He was a Bennite, but the Bennites quickly discovered he was unreliable. The Blairites might have welcomed him had they not suspected, rightly, that he would get the line wrong sooner rather than later.  There’s an endearing vanity in the way Mullin reports every kind remark made about his previous published diaries The only journalist to have made the top job in politics is Boris Johnson, and he crashed and burned. My friend Denis MacShane, who has ability and

Did the government really ‘brush aside’ coronavirus fears in January?

Was Matt Hancock shrugging off Coronavirus in late January? An ‘insight’ article in the Sunday Times which has spread like wildfire online accuses him of doing so. The virus was making its way over the world, it says, but ‘it took just an hour that January 24 lunchtime to brush aside the coronavirus threat. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, bounced out of Whitehall after chairing the meeting and breezily told reporters the risk to the UK public was “low”.’  The ‘Insight’ government deep dive – which curiously appears to have been swerved by the paper’s award-winning political editor Tim Shipman – states that Boris Johnson didn’t chair any meetings about it