Covid inquiry live: Rishi Sunak thought it was okay to let people die, Dominic Cummings claims

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Boris Johnson was bamboozled by the pandemic, Patrick Vallance says

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak thought “just let people die and that’s okay” during the pandemic, Sir Patrick Vallance’s diaries reveal.

Giving evidence at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Sir Patrick said he made a note of what former chief advisor Dominic Cummings told him Mr Sunak said during a meeting in October 2020.

Earlier, Sir Patrick admitted Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme “obviously” had an effect on increased Covid transmissions.

He said: “It’s quite likely that had an effect on transmission. In fact it’s very difficult to see how it wouldn’t have had an effect on transmission and that would have been the advice that was given, had we been asked beforehand.”

Asked whether 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 an issue that inevitably would cause an increase in transmission risk.”

Sir Patrick also said Boris Johnson was “bamboozled” by scientific advice during the pandemic, repeatedly forgetting things he had been told just hours earlier.


Rishi Sunak to blame for deaths, Caroline Lucas claims

Prime minister Rishi Sunak is to blame for excessive deaths during the pandemic, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said.

“Confirmed by Sir Patrick Vallance at the Covid Inquiry today – Rishi Sunak’s grossly irresponsible Eat Out To Help Out scheme drove a second wave of Covid. He is to blame for the damage caused. He needs to be held accountable,” Ms Lucas wrote on X.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 05:30


Covid ‘fed off inequality’, Vallance says

Sir Patrick Vallance said he was “aware” the pandemic and the measures required to tackle it would have an unequal impact.

He says he stands by his witness statement which says that the virus “fed off inequality and drove inequality”.

Pressed on whether this knowledge formed part of the advice given at senior decision-making levels, Vallance can’t recall exactly how early he drew attention to this.

But, he says he thinks it was “pretty early on” – and that Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, did the same.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 04:30


Boris Johnson was ‘bamboozled’ by science during the pandemic, Patrick Vallance reveals

Boris Johnson was “bamboozled” by the science during the pandemic and had to have details explained to him “repeatedly”, the Covid inquiry has heard.

Sir Patrick Vallance’s bombshell diary entries revealed in excruciating detail how the former prime minister struggled to understand graphs and “just could not get” some scientific concepts.

The former chief scientific adviser – one of the government’s most senior advisers during the pandemic – told the inquiry about how he kept daily notes as a “brain dump” to help him “decompress” — and never intended them to “see the light of day”.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 03:30


Rishi Sunak was ‘not pleased’ at early prospect of London lockdow

Rishi Sunak was not “terribly pleased” with the prospect of imposing a lockdown in London during the early stages of the pandemic, Sir Patrick Vallance has 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 Butler21 November 2023 02:30


Sunak suggested ‘handling the scientists’ and not virus, Covid probe is told

Rishi Sunak was overheard saying the Government should focus on handling its scientific advisers rather than the spread of Covid-19, the inquiry into the UK’s pandemic response has been told.

A series of diary entries from former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance was shown to the probe on Monday.

Mr Sunak’s comment was allegedly made in July 2020 as plans were being made to reopen the country after the first national lockdown.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 01:30


Treasury accused of ‘pure dogma’ by Patrick Vallance in pandemic notes

Sir Patrick Vallance criticised 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 probably made late at night in “frustration”, but said there was a lack of transparency on analysis of Covid-19’s impact on the economy.

The entry said: “Economic predictions. HMT (the Treasury) saying economy nearly back to normal and Plan B would cost £18 billion.

“No evidence, no transparency, pure dogma and wrong throughout.”

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 00:30


Johnson and Sunak were happy to let people die from Covid, inquiry hears

Boris Johnson wanted to let Covid “rip” despite the fact people would die, while Rishi Sunak also thought that was “okay”, the public inquiry has heard.

In further revelations from Sir Patrick Vallance’s pandemic diaries, the inquiry heard of the “shambolic” day on October 25 2020, when the country was heading towards a second national lockdown.

The diary entry highlights how the former prime minister wanted to let the virus spread, while his most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings (DC), suggested Mr Sunak, then chancellor, also thought it was “okay” to just let people die.

Alexander Butler20 November 2023 23:30


No basis for the ‘rule of six’, Vallance admits

Sir Patrick Vallance has admitted there was no basis for the rule of six.

He said: “On the rule of six we were pretty clear that we didn’t actually think that had an enormous basis in anything.

“Why six? Why not eight? Why not ten? We couldn’t tell anyone which was better or worse.”

Alexander Butler20 November 2023 22:30


Vallance said ministers were as ‘meek as mice’

Sir Patrick Vallance described Cabinet ministers as “meek as mice” and accused them of an “abrogation of responsibility” for not imposing recommended measures to curb the spread of Covid.

In an entry in his personal notes dated October 11 2020, the Government’s former chief scientific adviser welcomed being dropped from a press conference in favour of then chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Sir Patrick said: “Good. They need to understand and own the decisions they’re making … being asked to approve the measures, knowing that it’s not enough, gave the example that Bolton worked, but only because hospitality fully closed.

“This is a massive abrogation of responsibility.”

Alexander Butler20 November 2023 21:30


Boris Johnson didn’t want to hear ‘Covid excuse stuff’ about getting children back to school

Boris Johnson said he did not want to hear about this “Covid excuse stuff” when discussing plans to get children back into school, Sir Patrick Vallance revealed.

On August 6, 2020, Sir Patrick Vallance wrote in his notebook: “PM Covid (S) meeting on schools. Don’t want to hear about plan B and C for failure.

“I just want pupils back at school. We are no longer taking this Covid excuse stuff. Get back to school.”

Alexander Butler20 November 2023 20:30

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