Boris Johnson's refusal to talk about faith

13 June 2021

7:55 PM

13 June 2021

7:55 PM

I am struggling to make sense of the Prime Minister’s answer to my question: whether he is a practising Roman Catholic – which I asked in good faith and with good reason because he was recently married in Westminster Cathedral.

His answer was: ‘I don’t discuss these deep issues. Certainly not with you.’

He is aware that – for better or worse (worse for a long time) – this has been a pertinent question for chief and prime ministers since Henry Vlll.

More broadly, the professed faith (or none) of a leader matters to many voters. But it was the ‘certainly not with you’ that took me aback.

There is nothing in my 35 years as a journalist to suggest that I would trivialise or denigrate religion, or any issue of conscience.

If someone had made that remark in that context when I started in journalism 35 years ago I might have replied ‘is that because I am Jewish?’ or ‘is it because I went to a comprehensive and not Eton?’

But I assume none of that was on Boris Johnson’s mind.

So if any of you – or even perhaps he – could explain, I would be grateful.

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