Scientific adviser suggests UK's poor Covid response is government's fault

19 May 2020, 18:30

By Seán Hickey

The Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser hinted that the government has ignored advice when it mattered most.

Professor Dame Angela McLean is the Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser and she flanked Environment Minister George Eustice at today's coronavirus press briefing.

Heads were turned by members of the press when Dame McLean seemed to be forthright in suggesting that the government haven't in fact been following scientific advice.

Eddie Mair pointed out that this afternoon there seemed to be "more tension between the politician and the advisor" and suggested to LBC's Westminster correspondent Ben Kentish that the government adviser was "choosing her words very carefully".

Ben disagreed, suggesting that Dame McLean was "shooting from the hip." He put simply that she seemed to be arguing that "anything that had gone wrong is down to ministers" and she made it clear that any time something has gone wrong, it has been because politicians have ignored the advice.

Professor Dame Angela McLean suggested the government was at fault for the UK's coronavirus failings
Professor Dame Angela McLean suggested the government was at fault for the UK's coronavirus failings. Picture: PA

Ben went on to add that when she was quizzed on testing, Dame McLean maintained that countries that have good tracking systems have been shown to be performing well. She went further to point out that in the UK that we don't have any sufficient track and trace system in place. "That wasn't in the script" Ben quipped.

Dame McLean added further on a point which proved the government hasn't always followed the scientific advice. Ben told Eddie that she told the press that "stopping track and trace was not the scientific advice, it was a capacity issue" which lays the problem at the door of the government.

Ben was taken aback by the attitude of the Deputy Chief Science Adviser who consistently referred to other countries and praising them for having done better in battling coronavirus than the UK.

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