'Bunch of idiots': Public anger at government grows over fuel crisis

28 September 2021, 16:22 | Updated: 28 September 2021, 16:31

By James Morris

Public anger at Boris Johnson is growing with the fuel shortage crisis in its fifth day.

One disgruntled motorist said of Mr Johnson and his ministers: “They’re a bunch of idiots.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps, as well as the Petrol Retailers Association, has claimed there are “early signs” of the fiasco coming to an end.

But empty forecourts – and massive queues outside forecourts – remain and one LBC caller laid the blame with Mr Johnson.

Motorists queue to fill up their vehicles at a petrol station in London on Tuesday
Motorists queue to fill up their vehicles at a petrol station in London on Tuesday. Picture: Getty

On Thursday, one of his ministers, Paul Scully, said “there is no need for people to go out and panic buy” amid wider concerns about food shortages. Later, BP shut some of its petrol stations due to supply chain issues – which was followed by a weekend of panic buying.

Sylvie from Harrow told presenter Tom Swarbrick this morning: “What I thought from the very beginning was Boris Johnson is to blame for the panic. If you say, unannounced, ‘don’t panic’, what do you naturally do? You panic.

“I hadn’t heard anything abut petrol shortages at the pumps on Thursday but Thursday evening… I heard there was a big panic at the gas stations. So what did I do? I said to my husband: ‘I’m very low on petrol, I think I’ll go out now, you’ll be very wise to do the same.’”

And on Monday night, doctor Richard, from Brighton, told LBC he was considering sleeping at his GP surgery in order to keep it open.

He told Tom he has "lost all faith in what the government says”.

"If we felt things were being done or if there was an official announcement by the prime minister… but there's nothing, there's just a complete absence of useful information.”

Germit Mudhar, 61, a builder who requires a van for work, also told PA today: “They never think about things seriously.

"They're a bunch of idiots, they couldn't foresee this and they're running round like headless chickens.”

Read more: ‘Knife’ pulled and brawls break out at pumps as fuel queues show no sign of letting up

Asked whether there has been a public over-reaction, he said: “It's not so much the panic buying… the government has known about the driver shortage for months and months and months."

Mr Shapps defended the government's response on Tuesday, saying it had taken 18 separate measures to deal with the crisis.

He added: "There are now the first very tentative signs of stabilisation in the forecourt storage which won't be reflected in the queues as yet, but it's the first time we've seen more petrol in the petrol stations."