When BoJo leaves Number 10 he will take with him the gift of the non-apology. For that, will we be sorry?

by Julia Bergin
Boris Johnson has tried to atone for his awful behaviour by using wriggly words. But he's only talked himself into a corner.

Boris Johnson has tried to atone for his awful behaviour by using wriggly words. But he’s only talked himself into a corner.

(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)
(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Boris Johnson’s loss of leadership is looming large as ministers and aides leave in their droves. When (rather than if, this time) his litany of lies and obfuscation catches up with him, the UK prime minister will take from Downing Street something else: his mastery of the non-apology.

Johnson plays in a different league of verbal jousting to the other populist leaders. Compared to former US President Donald Trump, who continues to live by “deny until you die”, and our own departed former prime minster Scott Morrison, who opted for “deny until it becomes apparent you will die”, Johnson plays what is termed a non-apology with a little more nuance.

His backflip on Chris Pincher, the MP Johnson appointed as deputy whip, even though he knew he was a groper, came with concessions: “Yes, I think it was a mistake and I apologise for it. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do.” In hindsight?

Read more about Boris Johnson…

Already a subscriber? .
Or, register your email address for a FREE 21-day trial.