Letters: A Prime Minister without candour, judgment – or a party behind him

·9 min read
A banner outside Downing Street on Tuesday night, reading: "Boris still telling porkies" - Dominic Lipinski/PA
A banner outside Downing Street on Tuesday night, reading: "Boris still telling porkies" - Dominic Lipinski/PA

SIR – Why did Boris Johnson risk being caught out – yet again – when responding to questions about Chris Pincher’s history? He shows no political savvy, let alone straightforward honesty.

Cabinet resignations surely herald the end of the road for him.

Tim Lovett
Claygate, Surrey

SIR – At last members of Mr Johnson’s Cabinet have found the backbone to tell him that enough is enough.

Let us hope the Conservative Party can now return to Conservatism.

Richard North
Stanford Dingley, Berkshire

SIR – “Et tu, Rishi?”

Patrick Smith
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

SIR – While Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak are to be commended for resigning from the Cabinet, they really should have done so sooner.

It has been clear for a long time that Boris Johnson is at best unprincipled, and at worst (the more likely scenario) morally turpitudinous, unfit to hold the greatest office of state. We could all see this. Why didn’t they?

One can only hope that this is a turning point in British politics, marking the restoration of principles and morality in public life.

Andrew Holgate
Wilmslow, Cheshire

SIR – We used to say “lies, damned lies and statistics”. That has changed to “lies, damned lies and 10 Downing Street”.

John O’Brien
London W12

SIR – The Prime Minister has brought the verb “to apologise” into disrepute.

Michael Bucher
Haddington, East Lothian

SIR – In January 1958 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and two other ministers, resigned in what Harold Macmillan called “a little local difficulty”. Twenty months later Macmillan was re-elected with a substantial majority.

Christopher Horne
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

SIR – I hope the praise that Mr Sunak and Mr Javid have received for resigning will bring them comfort when they find themselves in the electoral wilderness. They have effectively handed Sir Keir Starmer the keys to No 10, with all the woke lunacy that will entail.

Mark Boyle
Johnstone, Renfrewshire

SIR – Whatever happens to Mr Johnson, I shall always be grateful to him for his achievements, and for his contribution to life’s rich pageant.

Mark Robbins
Bruton, Somerset

SIR – A great day for Britain. America, take note.

Geoff Fleming
Heytesbury, Wiltshire

Rayner’s grammar

SIR – Angela Rayner has forbidden Hansard from correcting her grammar (report, July 5), as she wants to stay true to her working-class roots.

Being working class doesn’t mean that you can’t talk correctly or grammatically.

Rob Dorrell
Combe Down, Somerset

SIR – I had no idea that using correct grammar was indicative of class. I thought it was used by people who wished to be clearly understood.

Anne Jappie
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

EU packaging fees

SIR – As an antiquarian bookseller I send orders all over the world. However, from the end of this month I will no longer sell to Germany or France. What has changed? Extended Producer Responsibility, that’s what.

In brief, it appears that mail-order sellers to these countries will be responsible for the eco disposal of all packaging. This will not only affect booksellers such as myself, but also those on eBay and similar sales sites.

I will have to declare the amount of packaging on all my orders and register with each country in order to pay eco fees. Declarations and eco payments will have to be made on a quarterly or annual basis.

Can I be bothered? No. Will I lose orders, undoubtedly. But the people who will be most affected are the buyers in these countries, as the books they want from me cannot be obtained elsewhere. As a responsible “green”, I already recycle old cardboard packaging, but why should it be up to me to pay for my customers to recycle their packaging on receipt?

The danger is that other countries will follow suit. Of course, the sensible option would be for these countries to impose an eco tax on their own citizens for overseas orders, in addition to the import duty that they already pay. But they would not like that.

Christopher Barmby
Tonbridge, Kent

Balancing act

SIR – On holiday in Greece, we saw a small motorcycle chugging along the road. A man was driving and a woman was seated behind, with a child between them and another at the back.

On the handlebars was balanced a crate containing a large and lively pig. Who needs a sidecar (Letters, July 2)?

Lynda Cox

Bored GPs

SIR – John and Elizabeth Fielding (Letters, July 4) believe that GPs are quitting because they are bored. I suppose it must be dull now that receptionists advise patients and interpret guidance; nurse practioners see those with onging issues; practice pharmacists sort out HRT doses and related hospital referrals; patients request the blood tests used to monitor long-term conditions, and even Covid jabs are being dealt with elsewhere.

Dentists and opticians, on the other hand, must lead quite exciting lives, as they actually see patients, in person, at the surgery, without the patient having to spend 40 minutes in a telephone queue just to get through.

To say that GPs should be allowed to specialise, and use high-tech diagnostics and therapy, is to miss the point. To reduce their boredom levels, all GPs need to do is get back to general practice, preferably involving patients in person. They might even enjoy diagnosing their conditions. This would also help patients who, after two and a half years, have almost forgotten what their doctor looks like.

Vanessa Howard
Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham

SIR – During my medical training I benefited from being accepted by the Royal Naval Medical Service, which paid and trained me. In return I undertook to serve five (now six) years in the service. Might this not be a useful model for the NHS?

Dr Stephen Vincent
Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

BA brought low

SIR – It is extremely sad to see how far British Airways has fallen in terms of service and passenger care. Its reputation as “the world’s favourite airline” is now in tatters.

My daughter’s flight was cancelled, via text message, less that 24 hours before departure. No help with rescheduling was offered. The airline is now Abba – Anyone But BA.

Roger Hollest
Shaw, Wiltshire

SIR – Has Jenny Austen (Letters, July 2) tried threatening BA with the small claims court? After it refused to give my daughter a refund, she did just that. The money appeared in her account immediately.

Nick Buckle
Beaulieu, Hampshire

Crabs and Ruperts

SIR – As an RAF “crab”, I flew in the kipper fleet and spent much of the time working with fish heads. They were our friends and comrades.

Now members of the SAS have been banned from referring to officers as Ruperts (report, July 4). What sort of people are the Armed Forces recruiting these days?

John Pearson
Cranwell, Lincolnshire

SIR – The Royal Navy has always called the RAF crabs, and any attempt to stop it would be greeted with disbelief.

Everyone in the Navy has a nickname. For instance: the Fleet Air Arm are “wafus”, seamen are “dabtoes”, the electrical branches are “greenies”, the stores branches are “Jack Dusties”, Royal Marines are “bootnecks”, supply officers are “grocers” and first lieutenants are “Jimmy the One”.

Whoever came up with the absurd idea of banning the name “crabs” should be demoted to “captain of the heads” (cleaner of lavatories).

Ernest Coleman
Bishop Norton, Lincolnshire

The Welsh way to tackle troubling history

The locomotive Galatea steams past Conwy Castle, built in the late 13th century - alamy
The locomotive Galatea steams past Conwy Castle, built in the late 13th century - alamy

SIR – Perhaps British universities struggling to find the best way to approach their colonial past could learn from the mature example of Cadw, the Welsh equivalent of English Heritage.

This remarkable organisation not only tolerates the symbols of English oppression built by Edward I, such as the castles of Conwy and Caernarfon, but also raises funds to enable their repair and conservation.

The Welsh do not seek to erase history but are happy to engage in vigorous debate. They understand that cultural vandalism solves nothing.

Ruth Corderoy

Bad sports should have no place at Wimbledon

SIR – The International Tennis Federation’s Code of Conduct states that “unsportsmanlike conduct is defined as any misconduct by a player that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the Competition, the ITF, or the sport of tennis”.

Nick Kyrgios’s behaviour towards the umpire in his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday was the personification of unsportsmanlike behaviour. It was disgusting, unwarranted and a disgrace to the game.

This behaviour would not be tolerated in any other workplace – so why has it been allowed on the tennis court?

Jane Singer
London N19

SIR – I had a seat on Centre Court on Saturday after being lucky in the ballot.

I could see that the plethora of empty seats were those with the best vantage points and in the Royal Box. There were no empty spaces where the real fans were seated, further back and under the rim of the roof.

The VIP car parks were full. I assume a good long lunch was enjoyed by many.

Pamela R Goldsack
Banstead, Surrey

SIR – Having worked at Wimbledon every summer for the past 20 years, I read with interest your report (July 3) regarding the diminished numbers coming through the famous queue.

While I agree that the absence of Roger Federer, the rising cost of living and the pandemic are all playing a role in keeping people away, I think the main problem is the lack of “quality” tennis on the outside courts.

For example, in 2019, day eight of the championships saw four men’s singles matches played on courts 3, 12 and 18 – courts for which you only need a ground pass – and three women’s singles matches played on the same courts. A ground pass for the second Monday cost £25. Last Sunday a ground pass cost £27 and not one singles match was played on any of these courts. Anyone wishing to see a singles match would have had to sit on the hill to watch it on the screen.

Simon Donald
London SW19

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