July is a graveyard month for prime ministers. Traditionally, Parliament  went into recess in late July so that MPs and Peers could retreat into their country estates for the new season of red grouse shooting on the “glorious Twelfth” of  August.

Parliament would be reconvened in November for the King’s Speech and MPs would start serious work in January. Legislation would be packed into those seven months.

By mid-July, in sweltering temperatures, with late-night sittings as governments bulldozed their bills to the statute book, tempers would fray.

This triggered parliamentary plotting against the government: by the governing party’s back-benchers overlooked for ministerial jobs, and those sacked from office.

Late July was the time for government reshuffles, giving new ministers four months to master their briefs before facing oral questions. Plot would be trumped by counter-plot as MPs jostled for position.

This pattern was changed by David Cameron in 2010. The Queens Speech was thereafter in May (unless general elections intervened).

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You can change the calendar, but not MPs’ propensity to conspire mid-summer-night  plots. That’s just what we’ve seen this week. The knives are out for Boris Johnson.

Dominic Cummings accused him of treating the death of older citizens as acceptable collateral damage in the war against Covid. 

The Times ran an editorial which described Johnson’s  key-note speech on ”levelling-up” the economy as “almost entirely devoid of facts, analysis or policy”.

Even Keir Starmer sounded mildly angry with an unstable Premier whose policies swing with the wind – one minute  sacrificing everything on the altar of private profits; then triggered by another Covid spike,  performing policy summersaults.

But it wasn’t the Cummings interview which sounded alarm bells for Johnson; Cummings has neither mandate nor locus.

Rather, it was Jeremy Hunt’s measured tones on the BBC's Newsnight. The former health minister who ran against Johnson for the Tory leadership, parked his tanks fair-and-square on Boris’ back lawn.

As Health Select Committee chair, Hunt is up-to-speed on Covid lessons  – particularly the inadequacy of social care provision. 

Funding universal social care has been too difficult a challenge since the Dilnot Commission advocated, in 2011, that social care should be publicly funded,  with a cap on individual contributions.

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Mr Hunt stated on Monday: “You will never solve the problems in the NHS if you ignore the social care system”.  He advocated increased taxation to fund comprehensive social care.

This was a two-edged initiative. It addressed the compelling universal social care agenda. It also reminded people that on becoming prime minister, in July 2019, Boris Johnson famously stated that he would “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”. He hasn’t; and Covid highlights his failure.

The old Welsh saying “Tawel yw’r ci sy’n cnoi” -  “Quiet, the dog that bites” is apposite.

Mr Hunt is a stark contrast to Boris Johnson. Quietly spoken, cool and logical, he  acknowledges when he gets things wrong – as with S4C, when he reversed DCMS policy on being told the full facts.

Jeremy Hunt knew exactly what he was doing on Monday. His time may yet come.