Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”A very small percent of hospitality is a cause of covid transmission… I speak to our scientists every day”

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sky News

Facts

In an interview on Sky News Rishi Sunak, Chancellor at the time, defended the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, saying “A very small percent of hospitality is a cause of covid transmission”, adding, “I speak to our scientists every day.”

Three years later, in the run up to the official Covid-19 inquiry, the government, including the Treasury at the time, is facing criticism from scientists who say they weren’t consulted on the scheme. 

Speaking to the Observer, Professor John Edmunds, who was a member of the Sage committee of advisers to ministers and who has submitted written evidence to the inquiry, said the Scheme was never discussed with scientists. 

Edmunds explained: “If we had [been consulted], I would have been clear what I thought about it. As far as I am concerned, it was a spectacularly stupid idea and an obscene way to spend public money”.

The president of the British Medical Association, Prof Martin McKee, also criticised the “dysfunctional” way in which the government, including the Treasury under Sunak, overlooked scientific advice throughout the pandemic. 

Verdict

We will have to wait for the outcome of the Covid inquiry to say for sure, but evidence is emerging that Sunak may have been stretching the truth when he gave the impression that he relied on scientific guidance and spoke to ‘our scientists’ every day.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Number 10 offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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