Shadow Minister Brutally Shames Boris Johnson's Mismanagement Of Covid In Just 90 Seconds

Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Covid Inquiry is proving to be "absolutely shocking".
Shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds on BBC Question Time
Shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds on BBC Question Time
BBC Question Time

A shadow minister furiously laid into Boris Johnson’s Downing Street for its mismanagement of the early stages of the pandemic on BBC Question Time last night.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow trade secretary, noted how the Covid Inquiry had revived this “shameful episode” for our country – and he was not afraid to name names, either.

At the start of a 90-second rant, he said, “we already knew about this Downing Street,” pointing out that the police dished out more than 100 fines to No.10 staff for breaking lockdown rules at the height of the pandemic.

He continued: “Nonetheless, the level of this is absolutely shocking.

“And yes, Boris Johnson was the prime minister at the time, but the current prime minister Rishi Sunak was the second most powerful person at the time, because he was chancellor of the exchequer.”

Both Johnson and Sunak received a £50 fine for breaching their own lockdown rules amid the partygate scandal.

The second most senior civil servant in the country at the time, Helen MacNamara, also told the Covid Inquiry this week that lockdown rules were broken every day.

Thomas-Symonds said it was a “completely dysfunctional operation in charge of our country.”

The MP for Torfaen claimed: “They were not prepared for the pandemic.

“When we were all seeing those scenes from northern Italy of hospitals under pressure – because, remember, that they had warning about what was happening on the continent of Europe already – what was the prime minister of the time doing?

“He was going on holiday for a week and not taking it seriously.”

Johnson was notably absent during five Cobra meetings about Covid in the early months of 2020, and took a “working” holiday at Chevening towards the second week of February.

The shadow trade secretary said the prime minister was “making comments almost recklessly, carelessly, about the lives of older people” when lockdown began in the UK.

The Covid Inquiry has revealed that, according to then chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance’s notes from August 2020, Johnson was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life”.

Vallance’s notes from December 2020 suggest Johnson still thought “Covid is just Nature’s way of dealing with old people”.

The MP concluded: ″This is, in my opinion, a quite shameful episode in our history.

″An insult to the sacrifices people made during the pandemic and an insult, frankly, to all those who lost loved ones. They should be held to account for it.”

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