Editor’s comment: We all wish the prime minister a fast recovery

Editor Andr� Langlois. Picture: Terry Ife

Editor Andr� Langlois. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

I write on Wednesday, a couple of hours before our print deadline.

That’s the way it has to be at the moment, when the news is changing minute by minute.

Since daybreak I’ve had Girlfriend In a Coma by The Smiths going through my head:

Girlfriend in a coma, I know

I know, it’s serious

Girlfriend in a coma, I know

I know, it’s really serious

Most Read

There were times when I could

Have murdered her

But you know, I would hate

Anything to happen to her

The prevailing sentiment is well-wishing when it comes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who is not in a coma, I should make clear). Political rivals have expressed their support for him after he was taken to intensive care with coronavirus.

The new Labour leader, Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, tweeted: “All of our thoughts are with the prime minister and his family at this difficult time. This is a national crisis and the Labour Party will act in the national interest, working constructively with the government.”

Sir Keir has a tough task ahead. This is not a time for playing politics. A frank assessment of how the pandemic was tackled – and of what state the country’s services were in going into the crisis – will follow.

But there are certainly questions to be asked right now. Are the right things being done to make sure personal protective equipment is going to everyone who needs it? Are we at this stage doing everything we can to make sure the right rigorous testing is carried out?

To address these questions, whatever the party line might be about “collective responsibility” of the cabinet, the government needs clear leadership.

Mr Johnson is to be wished a swift recovery, but if he is unable to perform his role, clarity will be needed about who is making vital decisions.