I WAS bewildered when I read John Cumberland’s letter defending Boris Johnson and attacking Labour leader Keir Starmer (HAS, Jan 4).

First, he claims that Keir Starmer is the leader of the Labour Party “by default”.

Sir Keir (he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2014) became leader after Jeremy Corbyn stepped down. He won the leadership in a democratic vote, defeating Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

Then Mr Cumberland claims Boris only let Dominic Cummings go when he was ready to let him go. Mr Cummings’ presence as an unelected advisor to Boris caused friction among the Cabinet, he was an embarrassment to the Government through his ‘eyesight test’ escapade, and he should have been given the push long ago.

Finally, If a Labour government had been in power, and Keir Starmer had taken exactly the same decisions on the coronavirus at the same time as Boris did, then Boris along with his shadow cabinet and their mates who run the Tory press would have been jumping up and down long before now accusing Sir Keir of gross incompetence and with lumbering our children and grandchildren with huge debt through fiscal mismanagement!

Ian Dodgson, Barnard Castle.