Boris Johnson to face Keir Starmer at first PMQs session since July

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons (UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire) - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson will face the leader of the opposition for the first time since July when he returns to the Commons after presiding over a series of U-turns that have impacted perception of the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson will face critics from both sides of the House on Wednesday during his first Prime Minister's Questions since parliament's summer recess began on July 22.

As MPs started returning, Johnson insisted his government has not been blown off course by Covid-19, but acknowledged that 'sometimes it is necessary' to change direction in 'response to the facts as they change'.

His defence came as a series of policy U-turns increasingly angered backbench Conservative MPs, with one describing events as a 'mega-disaster from one day to the next'.

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On Tuesday,Mr Johnson told ministers that in the last few months they have been 'sailing into the teeth of a gale, no question' when chairing his first cabinet meeting after the return.

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He said: 'And I am no great nautical expert, but sometimes it is necessary to tack here and there in response to the facts as they change, in response to the wind's change, but we have been going steadily in the direction, in the course we set out, and we have not been blown off that course.'

He said there would still be 'some turbulence ahead' and that things would be 'difficult' on the economic front, while the need remained to 'get this disease absolutely out of our systems'.

Many Tory backbenchers are frustrated by the Government's handling of the crisis, with one senior Conservative MP claiming the prime minister had overseen 'megadisaster' and 'calamity' in government.

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