RISHI Sunak faces a very difficult week — but he should start off on the front foot when he appears before the increasingly absurd Covid Inquiry tomorrow.
The handsomely-paid lawyers for the investigation will inevitably give the Prime Minister a hard time about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which, as the then Chancellor, he instigated during the pandemic in order to save the hospitality industry.
The PM can feel vindicated by his concern about the effect on the economy at the time of Covid lockdown with the Inquir looking intent on creating scapegoatsCredit: Getty
The inquiry, which is likely to cost taxpayers £200million, has already heard how one government scientific adviser, scornful of the scheme, dubbed Mr Sunak “Dr Death”.
Those who clamoured for an extra “circuit-breaker” lockdown in September 2020 were also highly critical of Mr Sunak’s strong opposition to it.
But more and more evidence is emerging about the catastrophic long-term damage done by the lockdowns.
A new landmark report by the Centre for Social Justice spells out in stark terms how the least well-off suffered most under the draconian restrictions demanded by the scientists and others, and how one in five kids has been left scarred with mental health issues.
READ MORE ON COVID INQUIRY
That is unlikely to cut much ice with the Covid Inquiry, which seems intent on making individual ministers scapegoats for the global disaster — rather than looking into whether lockdowns were worth the damage they caused, or how we can make sure we are better prepared for the next epidemic.
The Prime Minister, however, can feel vindicated by his concern at the time about the effect on the economy and on the fabric of our society.
RIGHT-wing Tories planning to abstain or vote against the PM’s emergency Rwanda legislation on Tuesday, on the advice of the so-called “star chamber” of Tory lawyers, should heed the wise words of Sir Winston Churchill.
“Perfection,” he said, “is the enemy of progress.”
Any Tory MPs planning to vote against or abstain against the emergency Rwanda legislation will be like turkeys voting for ChristmasCredit: Alamy
The Bill might not be “watertight”, but tightening it to the satisfaction of hard-liners would see it collapse completely.
Left-wing lawyers, meanwhile, may indeed try to find any way they can to thwart the legislation.
Their contempt for the law-abiding majority opposed to illegal immigration knows no bounds.
But that is no reason not to press ahead with a deterrent to the evil traffickers who send migrants to sea in their thousands in dangerously unsafe small boats.
The rebels can always try to improve the Bill as it makes its way through Parliament and expose Labour’s lack of any realistic alternative — or any desire to stop illegal migration — which will be evident when they vote against the plan.
But for Tory MPs now to knife Rishi Sunak in the back will be like turkeys voting for Christmas.