The home secretary’s diversionary tactic of semi-coherent rambling was put into service on a day of 1,290 Covid deaths
Boris Johnson spoils us. Up until last week, the home secretary had been kept away from the Downing Street press conferences since a disastrous appearance last May. Now we get Priti Patel twice in two weeks. But then the prime minister didn’t have a lot of choice, given that he clearly didn’t fancy taking Thursday night’s himself. Matt Hancock is self-isolating, Dominic Raab appears to have taken a vow of silence, and Gavin Williamson had all but handed in his resignation letter during a car crash series of interviews during the morning media round.
Then perhaps Patel wasn’t such a bad choice after all. Not because she had anything very important to say, but precisely because she didn’t. Few politicians match her ability to fill dead air with a series of disconnected sentences that leave most people none the wiser by the time she comes to a stop. Ideal for a press briefing with minimal news content that has to be extended to 40 minutes to keep up appearances.