BoJo can ‘get away with things’ that ‘mere mortals’ can’t, ex-PM says
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a unique capacity to “get away with things that mere mortals can’t seem to,” Johnson’s predecessor, David Cameron, said.
In a film by Sky News’ editor-at-large Adam Boulton, ‘Feral Beasts. Prime ministers and the media’, Cameron was reminded that while he was prime minister, he tried to hire his own official photographer, but the request was denied. Asked by Boulton what he thinks of Johnson hiring a team of photographers, Cameron said: “Well, Boris has always been able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t seem to.”
He went on to blame Johnson for trying “to bypass the media,” saying that it is important to speak to the journalists directly, whether in interviews or during media events.
“And I always did. Yes, the press conferences were rather infrequent, but I never held back from going on the Today program and coming on your show. I mean, we were always available and keen to engage and to answer questions,” Cameron claimed.
However, Cameron, as well as his predecessor, Gordon Brown, and then later, Boris Johnson, have been criticized for their attempts to avoid scrutiny by the press – something that Boulton explores in his film. The film describes the events preceding the campaign in Iraq as a turning point in a relationship between the UK government and the press, with many journalists feeling betrayed and manipulated by Tony Blair and his cabinet.
The last few months have seen Johnson, a former journalist himself, actively scrutinized by the press not only for Brexit and anti-Covid policies, but also for several other matters, including an impressive bill for the luxury redecoration of his apartment, initially covered by a Tory donor, and last year’s Downing Street Christmas party that allegedly took place during lockdown.