Boris Johnson caught by surprise by the pandemic, says Patrick Vallance
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak thought ‘just let people die and that's fine' during the pandemic, Sir Patrick Vallance's diaries reveal.
Giving evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Sir Patrick said he noted what former chief adviser Dominic Cummings told him Mr Sunak said during a meeting in October 2020.
Earlier, Sir Patrick admitted that Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out program had “obviously” had an effect on increased Covid transmissions.
He said: “It is quite possible that this had an effect on transmission. In fact, it's very hard to see how it wouldn't have an impact on the broadcast and that would have been the advice given if we had been asked in advance.”
Asked if Mr Sunak would have been aware of the risks, Sir Patrick added: “I think it would have been very obvious to anyone that this was likely to cause a problem which would inevitably increase the risk of transmission.”
Sir Patrick also said Boris Johnson had been “misled” by scientific advice during the pandemic, repeatedly forgetting things he had been told just hours earlier.
Rishi Sunak is responsible for the deaths, claims Caroline Lucas
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is responsible for excessive deaths during the pandemic, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has said.
“Confirmed by Sir Patrick Vallance at the Covid Inquiry today – Rishi Sunak's grossly irresponsible Eat Out To Help Out program has led to a second wave of Covid. He is responsible for the damages caused. He needs to be held accountable,” Ms. Lucas wrote to X.
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 05:30
Covid “fueled inequality”, Vallance says
Sir Patrick Vallance said he was “aware” of the pandemic and the measures needed to tackle it would have a disproportionate impact.
He says he stands by his testimony that the virus “fueled inequality and drove inequality.”
Pressed on whether this knowledge was part of the advice given to higher levels of decision-making, Vallance could not recall how early it was brought to his attention.
But he says he believes it was “too soon” – and that Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, did the same.
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 04:30
Boris Johnson was ‘seduced' by science during pandemic, reveals Patrick Vallance
Boris Johnson was “embarrassed” by science during the pandemic and had to have details explained to him “repeatedly”, the Covid inquiry has heard.
Sir Patrick Vallance's diary entries have revealed in incredible detail how the former prime minister struggled to understand graphs and “just couldn't get” some scientific concepts.
The former chief scientific adviser – one of the government's most senior advisers during the pandemic – told the inquest how he kept daily notes as a “brain dump” to help him “decompress” – and never intended for them to “see the limelight”. “.
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 03:30
Rishi Sunak was “not happy” with the early prospect of a lockdown in London
Rishi Sunak was not “terribly happy” at the prospect of a lockdown in London during the early stages of the pandemic, Sir Patrick Vallance told the Covid-19 Inquiry.
Giving evidence on Monday, the government's former chief scientific adviser discussed meetings with ministers during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
Sir Patrick said emerging evidence of the scale of infections in London meant the capital “needed more” restrictions than other parts of the country.
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 02:30
Sunak suggested “manipulating the scientists” rather than the virus, according to Covid research
Rishi Sunak was heard saying the government should focus on handling its scientific advisors rather than the spread of Covid-19, as reported in the UK's pandemic response inquiry.
A series of diary entries from former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance were presented to the inquest on Monday.
Mr Sunak's comment was reportedly made in July 2020 as plans were being made to reopen the country after the first national lockdown.
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 01:30
Treasury accused of ‘pure dogma' by Patrick Vallance in pandemic notes
Sir Patrick Vallance criticized the Treasury in private notes written during the pandemic, accusing it of “pure dogma”.
The government's former chief scientific adviser admitted his comments in October 2021 were likely made late at night in “frustration”, but said there was a lack of transparency in the analysis of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
The entry read: “Financial Forecasts. HMT (the Treasury) saying the economy is almost back to normal and Plan B will cost £18 billion.
“No evidence, no transparency, pure dogma and error throughout.”
Alexander ButlerNovember 21, 2023 00:30
Johnson and Sunak were happy to let people die of Covid, the inquest found
Boris Johnson wanted to let Covid “rip off” despite the fact that people would die, while Rishi Sunak also thought it was “okay”, the public inquiry heard.
In further revelations from Sir Patrick Vallance's pandemic diaries, the inquest heard of the “symbolic” day on October 25, 2020, when the country was heading for a second national lockdown.
The diary entry highlights how the former prime minister wanted to let the virus spread, while his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings (DC), suggested Mr Sunak, then chancellor, also thought it was “okay” to just let people to die.
Alexander ButlerNovember 20, 2023 11:30 p.m
No basis for the “rule of six,” Vallance admits
Sir Patrick Vallance admitted that there was no basis for the rule of six.
He said: “On the rule of six we were quite clear that we didn't actually think that had a huge basis in anything.
“Why six? Why not eight? Why not ten? We couldn't tell anyone which was better or worse.”
Alexander ButlerNovember 20, 2023 10:30 p.m
Vallance said ministers were as ‘soft as mice'
Sir Patrick Vallance has described Cabinet ministers as “meek as mice” and accused them of “abiding responsibility” for failing to impose recommended measures to curb the spread of Covid.
In an entry in his personal notes dated October 11, 2020, the former chief scientific adviser to the government welcomed his dismissal from a press conference in favor of then chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Sir Patrick said, “Good. They need to understand and own the decisions they make… they were asked to approve the measures, knowing that it is not enough, he set the example that Bolton worked, but only because the hospitality was completely closed.
“This is a massive abdication of responsibility.”
Alexander Butler20 November 2023 21:30
Boris Johnson didn't want to hear ‘Covid excuse stuff' about children going back to school
Boris Johnson said he didn't want to hear about this ‘Covid excuse thing' when discussing plans to get children back to school, Sir Patrick Vallance has revealed.
On August 6, 2020, Sir Patrick Vallance wrote in his notebook: “PM Covid (S) meeting in schools. You don't want to hear about plan B and C for failure.
“I just want the students to go back to school. We don't get that excuse for Covid anymore. Go back to school.”
Alexander Butler20 November 2023 20:30