Chief Nursing Officer being dropped from press briefings "a worrying trend" says Lib Dem MP

15 June 2020, 18:37

By Seán Hickey

Uncertainty over whether the Chief Nursing Officer has been banned from coronavirus briefings for her views on Dominic Cummings have reached fever-pitch.

Munira Wilson is health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats and she wrote a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock wondering whether or not Ruth May, the Chief Nursing officer for England has been banned from press briefings.

Eddie Mair asked Ms Wilson's view on whether Ruth May was "barred from the Covid-19 briefings because she might criticise Dominic Cummings."

The Lib Dem MP told him that she was "concerned about these suggestions that Ruth May has ben barred from participating in the press conferences and i think it's a worrying trend."

"Having the scientists and medics beside the politicians is absolutely critical."

Ms Wilson stated that "public trust and confidence and transparency with the public are absolutely critical, particularly so as we're moving into this more nuanced much more complicated phase" of lockdown easing.

She believed that the presence of scientific experts is crucial to the credibility of the briefings, otherwise these conferences are merely political.

Rumours over whether Ruth May is banned from press briefings or not have not been answered definitely
Rumours over whether Ruth May is banned from press briefings or not have not been answered definitely. Picture: PA

Eddie suggested to the Lib Dem MP that "Downing Street don't find these briefings valuable" and so the omission of medical and scientific advisors, as seen in today's briefing, is a way to try and lose all interest in the daily briefing.

Ms Wilson told Eddie that it isn't up to Downing Street to decide whether the briefings are valuable or not, adding that there are still "questions that need to be interrogated."

Asked about her letter to Matt Hancock, Ms Wilson told Eddie that she suspects she "may well get an answer but it might be two months hence when I do."

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