Boris Johnson, a former journalist, has told school children that the profession left him feeling “guilty” as he claimed reporters “abuse and attack” people. The Prime Minister was a political columnist and editor before going on to become the Mayor of London. He began a career in media in 1989.
Mr Johnson told the pupils: “Being a journalist is a great job, it’s a great profession.
“But the trouble is you find yourself always abusing people and attacking them.
“Not that you want to abuse them or attack them, you’re critical.
“Maybe you feel sometimes a bit guilty about that because you haven’t put yourself in the place of the person you’re criticising so, I thought I would give it a go.
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“There are lots of other things to do first.”
Earlier today, Mr Johnson said he is “very optimistic” that he will be able to fully remove all of England’s coronavirus restrictions on June 21 but warned “nothing can be guaranteed”.
The Prime Minister urged the nation to be “prudent” by continuing to follow the rules after publishing his road map to gradually lift the third national lockdown over the coming months.
Facing criticism from some Tory MPs over the pace of change, Mr Johnson said he was “hopeful” that all legal controls can be removed on the final date earmarked in his four-step plan.
Mr Johnson also announced that senior minister Michael Gove will lead a review into the possible use of vaccine passports to access currently closed venues, such as pubs and theatres.
Having insisted that he will be led by “data not dates”, the Prime Minister expressed optimism that relaxations will be complete by June 21, as tentatively scheduled in his road map, when nightclubs could reopen and large-scale events resume.
“I’m hopeful but obviously nothing can be guaranteed and it all depends on the way we continue to be prudent and continue to follow the guidance in each stage,” he told reporters during a visit to Sedgehill Academy, in Lewisham, south-east London.
“Genuinely, because of the immense possibilities of the rollout, because science has given us this way of creating a shield around our population, we can really look at that June 21 date with some optimism.
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“I’m very optimistic that we’ll be able to get there.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged that “fervent libertarians” will reject the premise of vaccine passports – or “Covid status certificates”, as he calls them – but said they need to be investigated.
He argued “we can’t be discriminatory against people” who cannot have a jab for medical reasons, while acknowledging some may also “generally refuse to have one”, albeit on mistaken grounds.
As the vaccine programme continues to progress, the Prime Minister said Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, will lead a review to get “the best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints on it and work out a way forward”.