In his first few months in power, Boris Johnson tried to prorogue Parliament, allegedly lied to the Queen, backed ministers who broke the ministerial code, and alienated most of Europe during the Brexit negotiations.

That’s just for starters. It’s hard to believe it could get any worse - but the mistakes, lies, U-turns and embarrassing gaffes just keep piling up.

The problem is that there are so many, it is easy to forget them all while BoJo reels from one crisis to another.

READ MORE: Why I'm angry about Boris Johnson and the Christmas parties

Maybe it’s his intention to make voters overlook his mistakes by making more – distracting us with so many dead cats it almost warrants an RSPCA investigation.

This year alone there have been too many for one article, but it is worth picking out the lowlights of BoJo’s latest year in power.

The National Wales: Boris Johnson at a Covid briefing in April. (Source: PA Wire)Boris Johnson at a Covid briefing in April. (Source: PA Wire)

They begin almost exactly 12 months ago when, on announcing the UK and EU Trade Deal, Johnson said: “There will be no non-tariff barriers to trade."

That must have produced a few hollow laughs from despairing exporters and importers after discovering they had to fill out customs declarations, comply with regulatory controls and undergo health and rules of origin checks to name just a few of the new complications to trade.

READ MORE: 'Price of Brexit' as UK food and drink exports to EU plummet by billions

Johnson then went on to tell a press conference that the document outlining the deal was “only about 500 pages”. It was in fact 1246 pages long, prompting journalists to wonder if he had even read the details of the deal he’d just signed.

The agreement was thrashed out as lorries trying to cross to Europe were left sitting in tailbacks on the M20, despite Government assurances that this would not happen.

Johnson’s assertion on December 21st that the Government had been able to reduce the number from 500 to 170 was flatly contradicted later by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said over 650 were stuck, with a further 800 at Manston.

The National Wales: Trucks queue at the Port of Dover, December 2021. (Source: PA Wire)Trucks queue at the Port of Dover, December 2021. (Source: PA Wire)

Later, in more apparent ignorance of the Brexit deal, Johnson said there was “some good language about equivalence for financial services.”

Johnson also said the deal would “if anything, allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends”.

But in January, Jim Harra, chief executive of HM Revenue & Customs, said the number of customs forms needed to trade as a result of the deal was not materially different from a no-deal situation - and the cost to EU and UK businesses would be £15bn a year.

READ MORE: More than 2,000 EU citizens in Wales had applications to stay after Brexit refused

Neither could BoJo have been happy with Environment Secretary George Eustace who stated: “There is new administration required. There are new costs to getting those export health certificates.

"It does create some friction at the border and sometimes slow down the flow of goods.”

Later on in the year, Johnson started trying to unpick the agreed protocol for Northern Ireland claiming, to the surprise of absolutely no-one, that it was unworkable.

And by September when the lack of lorry drivers led to fuel shortages, BoJo was forced into a U-turn over the Tories’ post Brexit anti-immigration stance and had to try to persuade foreign lorry drivers to return here to work.

Back to January, and there was fury over a leaked plan to scrap the cap on the 48-hour working week, leading to a denial that Downing Street was trying to water down workers’ rights.

The National Wales: Protestors demonstrate against plans to open a new coal mine in Cumbria (Source: PA Wire)Protestors demonstrate against plans to open a new coal mine in Cumbria (Source: PA Wire)

Another U-turn came in March after the UK Government withdrew their refusal to intervene with plans to mine coking coal in Cumbria and said there would be a public inquiry, due to report next year. Johnson has said he doesn’t want more coal mining but has refused to publicly oppose the project.

In April, Downing Street had to order an inquiry into the leak of BoJo’s texts to James Dyson. He had promised the billionaire he would “fix” it so that Dyson’s workers who came to the UK to work on emergency ventilators would not be hit with a tax bill.

April also saw another U-turn, after an outcry over the Government’s opposition to a Lords ruling that torture and genocide should not be included in a “presumption against prosecution” for UK troops over incidents abroad more than five years old. In a humiliating climbdown, Johnson had to accept troops could still be prosecuted for torture.

In May, sudden advice that people should not travel to Covid hotspots like Bolton was scrapped after another outcry.

However love appeared to bloom in June for Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who was caught kissing an aide in breach of Covid guidelines - not to mention his wedding vows.

Boris at first tried to stand by him, then claimed credit when Hancock resigned.

The National Wales: Former health secretary Matt Hancock resigned in June, after he was caught breaching Covid rules by kissing a colleague in the office. (Source: PA Wire)Former health secretary Matt Hancock resigned in June, after he was caught breaching Covid rules by kissing a colleague in the office. (Source: PA Wire)

There were more Covid fun and games the following month when Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak tried to dodge self-isolation after contact with new health secretary Sajid Javid who had Covid. For some reason no-one believed their claim that they were exempt as part of a pilot testing scheme.

More serious was the breaking of the Tory 2019 manifesto when Johnson reneged on his pledge of 0.7% of GDP for overseas aid by cutting £1bn from the budget.

READ MORE:  Cuts to overseas aid costs lives – it’s as simple as that

He followed that the next day on July 14 by demanding action against people hurling racist abuse at football matches in an apparent response to criticism he had given tacit support to “fans” who booed players who took the knee.

August brought chaos in Afghanistan with the UK Government initially refusing to support 125 Afghan guards protecting the British Embassy before the fall of the capital city to the Taliban. A U-turn managed to save only one person.

READ MORE: Afghanistan disaster shows "toxic pretensions of Global Britain"

Months later a whistleblower claimed Foreign Office failures led to “people being left to die at the hands of the Taliban”.

Thousands of emails from desperate people in Afghanistan who pleaded for evacuation from Kabul were not acted upon, apparently because staff were not available to sort through them, despite the withdrawal date of British troops known months in advance. Even then foreign secretary Dominic Raab was on holiday.

The National Wales: This summer saw a scramble to evacuate vulnerable Afghans as the Taliban retook the country (Source: PA Wire)This summer saw a scramble to evacuate vulnerable Afghans as the Taliban retook the country (Source: PA Wire)

More manifesto promises were broken in September when plans were announced to hike National Insurance contributions.

In October just before COP26, Johnson’s Government had to announce a partial U-turn after first rejecting calls to place a legal duty on English and Welsh water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges in rivers.

READ MORE: Wales must act now on waterway pollution

By November, the gaffes and U-turns were coming thick and fast.

Astonishing details emerged of how Johnson had allegedly ignored his staff’s advice to refrain from promoting his former lover’s business interests. Jennifer Acuri’s diary suggests he broke rules on ethical conduct in private office.

November also saw Johnson spark fury when he left the COP26 climate conference to travel by jet to London to attend a private dinner at the Garrick Club hosted by his old boss at the Daily Telegraph, Lord Charles Moore.

Lord Moore, who has called the climate crisis “speculation”, is also a close friend of Tory MP Owen Paterson, who was found to have misused his position to lobby for two companies he worked for.

READ MORE: Wales MPs making thousands in extra cash

Johnson tried to block his 30-day suspension from Parliament and ordered his MPs to rip up the rules on standards but U-turned less than a day letter as a result of public anger. Paterson then resigned as an MP.

It later emerged that more than 90 Tory MPs do paid work on the side.

The National Wales: Rob Roberts, MP for Delyn (Source: House of Commons)Rob Roberts, MP for Delyn (Source: House of Commons)

While Paterson resigned, Rob Roberts was given back his Tory Party membership after a 12-week suspension for sexually harassing a member of staff. He has so far dodged calls to resign as an MP.

After the COP26 delegates were safely home, Johnson ditched the Leeds leg of the HS2 rail link. On the same day he travelled by train without a mask just after apologising for failing to wear one on a hospital visit.

READ MORE: ‘Western Gateway’ group to seek investment for tidal energy and rail upgrades

Perhaps after so many months of broken pledges and embarrassments, the pressure started to get to Johnson, as he then astonished onlookers with a toe-curling speech to business chiefs - when he not only lost his place but also made vroom-vroom car noises and talked about Peppa Pig World. A toddler might have made a better job.

If November was bad, December has been worse. There is no let up on the Christmas party scandal with more details emerging daily on alleged restriction breaking festive shindigs at Downing Street and other Government offices last year.

The National Wales: The Christmas party scandal led to the tearful resignation of Comms staffer Allegra Stratton (Source: PA Wire)The Christmas party scandal led to the tearful resignation of Comms staffer Allegra Stratton (Source: PA Wire)

There are also demands for investigations to reopen into the funding of Johnson’s lavish refurbishment of his No 10 flat, following evidence he misled an inquiry clearing him of wrongdoing.

The Electoral Commission report revealed Johnson personally asked for more funds from donors for the redecorating, despite claiming later he knew nothing about the payments.

Donors were also allegedly approached to pay for childcare for Johnson and Carrie Symond’s son. One apparently complained: “I don’t mind paying for leaflets but I resent being asked to pay to literally wipe the prime minister’s baby’s bottom.”

Tory co-chairman Ben Elliot denied the claim, along with one that Tory bosses had paid for Johnson’s £165 per hour personal trainer and a personal chef when he was in hospital with Covid.

Meanwhile, popping up to haunt Johnson throughout the year has been his former special adviser Dominic Cummings who has continued to pile on the pressure with revelations about the “chaos” in No 10. His explosive claims are too many to list here but include thousands of people dying “needlessly” during the pandemic because of Government inaction.

This article originally appeared in our sister publication, The National Scotland.