“COMETH the hour; cometh the man.” This old saying has a long and chequered history. That history certainly doesn’t look as if it’s going to be added to anytime soon as our bumbling Prime Minister staggers from one calamity to another .

His shocking failure to act swiftly in March led to countless thousands of unnecessary deaths; his failure to provide sufficient PPE put swathes of our dedicated public servants in danger; and his ludicrous claims to be developing a world beating test, track and trace system would be funny if it wasn’t so absolutely serious.

This is compounded by his refusal to give the responsibility and resources for tracking and tracing to local, experienced professionals while the national system run by one of his pals lurches from one failure to another.

He has presided over a series of handing out contracts to friends and families that has led to a cross party group of MPs laying a legal challenge to find out where and how £3billion of contracts were let without any genuine scrutiny or accountability.

His Ministers are awarding public funds to their colleagues constituencies to help fight “deprivation”. Newark is 270th most deprived town in England but it gets money that was supposed to go to the 100 most needy towns.

And now it is clear that rather than give the nation the leadership it needs to tackle the frightening second wave of Covid, we see a man being dictated to by populism and fear. Instead of taking firm action he is prevaricating.

He can’t explain his actions in a way that stands up to scrutiny; he fails to answer direct questions either in parliament or to the press; and he clearly has no strategy other than to pass the buck from scientists to local leaders and onto the public when all else fails.

In the past Boris Johnson was able to get away with a smile and a pun as the canny lad stuck on a zip wire. But that won’t cut the mustard as our nation faces the biggest crisis in generations.

Dave Anderson, Middleton in Teesdale.