Former Tory chancellor George Osborne ridicules Boris Johnson’s absence at a time of crisis

PUBLISHED: 16:06 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:16 20 August 2020

Former chancellor George Osborne speaks at The Times CEO summit in London. Photo: PA Media

Former chancellor George Osborne speaks at The Times CEO summit in London. Photo: PA Media

PA Archive/PA Images

George Osborne appears to have mocked Boris Johnson’s questionable absence during a time of political crisis by posting a ‘Where’s Wally?’ style cartoon.

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The former chancellor and Tory MP posted a snap of this morning’s Evening Standard cartoon drawn by Adam Stoon on his Twitter page - set with the caption ‘Where’s Boris...?”.

It appears to show Loch Tummel near Pitlochry, with a small red-and-white hatted Johson nestling between trees in the bottom-right corner.

Current reports suggest that Johnson has gone to Scotland with his fiancee Carrie Symonds and their fourth-month-old son Wilfred for a camping trip, which Downing Street did not deny.

But his break comes as tension between teachers, students and Gavin Williamson grows over the A-Level and now GCSE fiasco, and Labour’s support among young people continues to soar.

There’s also fresh concerns about how Public First - a small research firm with links to Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove - was awarded nearly £1m worth of government contracts not put out to tender.

Many Twitter users were keen to commend Osborne and the Standard for stating the blithely obvious, suggesting that “nothing disturbs Johnson’s peace”, and that he can always be relied upon to take a holiday - even when least convenient.

For instance, in 2011 the then mayor of London refused to return from a family holiday to deal with riots in capital.

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Others, however, pointed out the hypocrisy of Osborne and his team, linking back to a June 2019 editorial in which the paper said it “backed Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister”.

Another Twitter user posted an article as old as 2008 from the Guardian, which questioned Osborne’s “candour and judgement” over discussions to channel a £50,000 donation from Russia’s richest oligarch to the Conservative Party.

Most however, were in agreement that the cartoon exposed a widely-held public fear - that Johnson’s cabinet is essentially running itself.

Some were supportive of the prime minister, however.

One user said that “any man or woman needs a break to recharge”, while another condemned the obsession with “always looking for the PM in a crisis.”

He said: “Unless it’s national security we’ve many cabinet ministers and government ministers that should show leadership - which the media often highlight.

“Sadly, all too often they want to play the man not on the ball.”

Another said the PM had been doing a “great job”, unlike Osborne who himself was a “hopeless failure and still is”.

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