Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

‎”At every point, we have followed expert advice, taking the right measures at the right time”

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Statement on Coronavirus

Facts

In a speech delivered outside 10 Downing Street Rishi Sunak, Chancellor at the time, assured the public that the government had followed expert advice “at every point”  regarding their response to the pandemic. There was little reason to doubt this assertion when it was made. 

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. This is specifically the case regarding Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out 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 was misleading the public when he said that every point he had followed expert advice.

It is relevant to note here that Rishi Sunak received a fixed penalty notice for attending an event on the Prime Minister’s birthday.

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

Published 27 Oct 2023
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