The National:

MANY observers would describe Boris Johnson, a man who seems better suited to an earlier century, as a reactionary, determined to return to a supposedly glorious past.

While that may be an apt description of his politics, not many could have foreseen that he’d take the term so literally.

The Prime Minister has announced a new campaign to tackle obesity, citing his coronavirus illness as the inspiration.

In a video to promote NHS England’s Better Health Strategy, he explains: “I think like many people I struggle with my weight … but since I recovered from coronavirus I’ve been steadily building up my fitness.”

The Tory leader, who says he’s lost about a stone, adds: “When I went into ICU, when I was really ill, I was way overweight.”

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By he says a new regime has helped him lose weight, adding that doing exercise in the morning makes the rest of the day a “breeze”. Alternatively, you could start off your day by trying to sit through one of the PM’s speeches.

Aside from feeling better, Johnson says by losing weight “you’ll also be protecting the NHS”. Protecting it from what exactly, the PM did not say – presumably more Tory cuts.

Not everyone was inspired by Johnson’s testimonial, however.

Nigel Orchard, from Salisbury, made the point expertly in a letter to the Times. He wrote: “The dangers of junk food and excessive eating have been known for decades but it has taken a near-fatal brush with the coronavirus for Boris Johnson to do a U-turn on the need to fight obesity.

“Perhaps we must now wait for him to be admitted to a care home and start to address the dire state of Britain’s social care system, or for Downing Street to be flooded before he will recognise the need to tackle climate change.”