'I'm Not Getting Anywhere With This': Kay Burley Roasts Oliver Dowden Over Covid Revelations

The deputy prime minister repeatedly refused to condemn Boris Johnson over his comments about old people.
Sky New's Kay Burley Grills Oliver Dowden on shocking claims made during the Covid Inquiry
Sky New's Kay Burley Grills Oliver Dowden on shocking claims made during the Covid Inquiry
Sky News

Oliver Dowden faced a painful grilling this morning as he repeatedly refused to criticise Boris Johnson over comments he made during the pandemic about older people.

Former chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance’s diaries, which have been made public by the Covid Inquiry, revealed Johnson wanted old people to “accept their fate” and catch Covid so that the young could get on with their lives.

On Sky News this morning, Dowden was pressed over comments he had made in the past praising the former prime minister.

Presenter Kay Burley said: “You said to our Sophy [Ridge] last April that Boris Johnson was getting the big calls right. He said that Covid was just nature’s way of dealing with old people. And you supported that guy.”

Dowden replied: “Well, what I think you’re seeing there is a very partial, one piece of evidence amongst many others.

“I’m not going to give commentary on one individual piece of information because it needs to fit in with a much wider picture.”

Burley hit back: “I’m giving you the opportunity to say it’s a shocking thing to say, deputy prime minister, do you want to take that opportunity?”

Dowden replied: “Well, of course I don’t recognise many bits of the account that were given, I didn’t hear the entire session - it ran out to over six hours.

“Of course, I don’t accept both how that was explained, and indeed I refute in many respects, what was said but the way to do that is through the the evidence that we give to the inquiry.”

Clearly frustrated with Dowden’s answer, Burley said: “Right, I’m not getting anywhere with this so let’s move on.”

Writing in his diary on August 28 2020, Vallance said: ”[Johnson] is obsessed with old people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going. Quite a bonkers set of exchanges.”

In a further entry on December 12 that year, said: ”[Johnson] says his party ’thinks the whole thing is pathetic and Covid is just nature’s way of dealing with old people - and I am not entirely sure I disagree with them.”

Natalie Grayson, national officer for care at the GMB union, said Johnson’s remarks “reveal the utter contempt his government showed to people living and working in care homes”.


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