After severe criticism from his former colleagues, Boris Johnson will today be forced to answer difficult questions from the committee that is conducting the public inquiry into the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the hearings began in June, associates of the former British prime minister, including a host of political advisers and academics, have described a prime minister as lost, indecisive, indifferent to the victims of the pandemic and a chaotic and fragmented government.

It took Boris Johnson far too long to impose the first lockdown at the end of March 2020. Had he grasped the dimensions of the epidemic? Did he understand the scientific facts? Was he indifferent to the victims and especially the elderly?

Boris Johnson did not have the skills to lead the country through the pandemic…the severity of the crisis required strong, systematic leadership which the then prime minister was unable to provide, former communications chief Lee Caine testified in late October of Downing Street explaining that Boris Johnson was postponing decision-making and constantly changing his mind, depending on who had spoken to him last.

A smooth talker, Boris Johnson uses humor to throw the ball around and avoids answering with clarity and precision. Today he will have to make a great effort to convince during his testimony that at the beginning of 2020 he was the man who had the situation under control.

The former prime minister has carefully prepared his defence, read 6,000 pages of documents and spent hours in solitary confinement with his lawyers, according to The Times newspaper which revealed the outline of his testimony.

According to the newspaper, Boris Johnson will apologize unreservedly, admit that he made mistakes, initially underestimating the dangers posed by the virus. “I had reasonable hope that things would go well,” he says, explaining that in the past other health threats have turned out to be less serious than first thought.

Johnson himself was in danger of dying from Covid in April 2020.

On March 23, 2020, the first lockdown was imposed on the British. Others followed. Illegal parties in Downing Street during this period caused scandal and contributed to the downfall of Boris Johnson who was forced to resign in July 2022.

But Boris Johnson will stand by his testimony that the government “made the right decisions at the right time”, saving dozens or even hundreds of lives. It will also emphasize starting the vaccination program in early 2021, earlier than many countries.

The Covid epidemic has killed more than 232,000 people in the UK.

In front of the committee, which has received tens of thousands of WhatsApp messages and documents, some of Boris Johnson’s former aides have described a volatile, inconsistent man who, according to the then health secretary Matt Hancock, took the lockdown too slowly.

“He is incapable of governing,” Downing Street chief secretary Simon Case, the country’s top civil servant, wrote in WhatsApp messages. “It changes strategic direction every day.”

Martin Reynolds, former private secretary to Boris Johnson, also described a dysfunctional and partisan culture within the Downing Street staff.

Boris Johnson is expected to categorically reject the accusations of his former chief of staff Dominic Cummings, who has testified that during the first days of the pandemic the British Prime Minister “was elsewhere” because he was working on a book about Shakespeare.