“I was absolutely sickened when I heard him say that because it was patently and obviously a lie. He didn’t lock down promptly, he didn’t close our borders, he didn’t protect our care homes. He threw vulnerable people to the wolves in care homes. He didn’t do any of the things first time round that could have helped and worse, he repeated the same mistakes second time round.”
She went on to criticise Johnson’s conduct at the press conference in which he addressed the UK reaching 100,000 Covid-19 deaths.
“He looks the country in the eye and he doesn’t tell the truth. He tells us what he thinks we want to hear, what’s popular, instead of what’s right.”
When asked to respond to Dr Clarke’s criticisms, Gove initially said he was “full of admiration and thanks for those on the frontline” in the fight against Covid-19. Pushed to address her point about Johnson’s “obvious lie”, he added:
“There are lessons to be learnt and we are learning them in real time about how to improve our response. If we look at other countries as well, and I’m not suggesting for a moment that our death toll is anything other than heart-rending, but if you look at other countries as well, we’ve learnt from them. Different countries have taken different approaches in different ways. We’ve all faced a new virus which operated in a horrendous way.”
Although he did say this approach was to try to “do better every day”, Gove refused to point to areas where the government had made mistakes, instead naming areas of improvement such as the numbers of being tested, contact traced and vaccinated.
Gove was criticised for “never answering a direct question” put to him in his GMB interview and for refusing to acknowledge the government’s mistakes.
It’s seems quite clear Boris Johnson has instructed his Ministers never to admit his Government has made any mistak… https://t.co/giZDxIY1sv
Government ministers seem to be alone in their apparent inability to name any possible areas of improvement in their Covid-19 response. Like Dr Clarke, people have been listing the multitude of ways in which the government could have learnt from their mistakes and bettered their course of action.
Britain’s death toll is one of the highest in Europe. It’s the least the government could do to approach this heartbreaking statistic with humility and admit that it never had to be the case.