Four times Boris said this Christmas would be better than last

21 December 2021

1:40 AM

21 December 2021

1:40 AM

‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…’ Or it certainly was until Omicron intervened. For the latest Covid variant has raised fears the government will be forced into a Groundhog Day style re-run of the awful events of last December, when Boris Johnson ‘cancelled Christmas’ less than a week before the big day. What followed was somewhere between Planes, Trains and Automobiles and the evacuation of Saigon as thousands of desperate Londoners stampeded through stations to get home before restrictions took effect.

Twelve months on and with most of Britain double or triple jabbed, there were hopes such scenes could be avoided this year. But with case rates soaring, the Cabinet are meeting this afternoon to discuss the latest data amid fears that the Covid curbs of December 2020 could be reintroduced in December 2021. The current mood music coming out of Whitehall is a far cry from, er, just last month, when upbeat optimists within the government were insisting all would be well.

For no-one was more enthused with Tiggerish enthusiasm than the optimist-in-chief Boris Johnson. The PM has, for weeks now, been insisting that this Christmas would be considerably better than the last, amid fears about the optics of cancelling two successive holiday seasons. Indeed Mr S has rounded up some of the occasions when the PM confidently predicted such a scenario – even as the case rate began to climb. Below are just four times when Johnson promised a better Christmas this year:

3 October to Beth Rigby of Sky News: ‘On Christmas, let me tell you this, Beth, I’ll make you a very confident prediction. This Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas – I’m just telling you it’s going to be be much, much better.’

27 November at Covid press conference: ‘As for your question about Christmas, I think I’m going to stick with the formula I’ve used before which is that I’m pretty confident or absolutely confident this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas.’

30 November at Covid press conference: ‘I’m still confident that this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas, and that remains my view.’

15 December at Covid press conference: ‘I said many times that I thought that this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas, and I stick to that. We’re not cancelling events, we’re not closing hospitality, we’re not cancelling people’s parties or their ability to mix.’

With five days to go, will he still be saying the same thing come Christmas Eve?

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