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The Guardian view on a second wave: Boris Johnson should be worried | Editorial

This was not supposed to happen, let alone happen so early in the autumn. It could have big consequences for politics as well as public healthWe know

Timothee Chalamet
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This was not supposed to happen, let alone happen so early in the autumn. It could have big consequences for politics as well as public health

We know that political classes in many countries, including Britain’s, can misjudge the mood of the times. So it would be wise not to read too much, too conclusively or too soon into the loud rumblings in the Conservative party about Boris Johnson and his government, and some of the media reaction to it. After all, it is only just over nine months since Mr Johnson won a crushing majority in the general election and the Tories remain ahead in almost all polls. This prime minister is not hanging on by his fingernails.

Nevertheless, rumblings – and sometimes more than that – there undoubtedly are. The Tory-supporting press that flashed warning signals to Mr Johnson every day this week is not making this new mood up. Three weeks ago, as MPs returned to Westminster after a summer of U-turns, Tory backbenchers launched some fierce criticism of the prime minister. Three weeks into the parliamentary session, the criticisms are increasing and they now come from a wider circle. Downing Street’s relations with Tory MPs were already poor because Dominic Cummings treats them with such disdain. No 10’s readiness to break international law in the Brexit process has made things worse. But the mishandling of Covid is at the heart of this, and that could clearly get a lot worse quite quickly. If that happens, it could have big political consequences.

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