Government handling Covid like a political campaign, expert tells James O'Brien

7 October 2020, 15:24 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 15:25

By Sam Sholli

The UK Government is handling the coronavirus crisis as if it were running a political campaign, a public health expert has told James O'Brien.

The remark from Professor John Ashton, author of the book 'Blinded by Corona', comes as the number of new daily coronavirus cases soared past 14,500 on Tuesday - up by 2,000 on the previous day - with 76 new deaths.

Speaking to James about the Government's handling of the crisis thus far, he said: "They've treated it like a political campaign, right down to the fact that the advisers that they've brought in from Australia in March are the ones that ran the political campaign in the general election with political slogans."

He added: "For me now, the heart of this is the issue of trust."

James agreed with Professor Ashton's emphasis on the importance of trust, adding: "The idea that the population doesn't suspect the motives of the Government is a key bedrock of any meaningful public health policy, I think."

"You need trust to take people on a difficult journey, which is what we've been through once already and now it looks as though we may have to go through it all again," Professor Ashton replied.

Professor Ashton also accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of displaying "laziness" while in office.

He told LBC: "You need to be able to develop the big picture and then you need to drill down and see where you've got to act.

"And that's the problem here. We've got leadership which hasn't really ever grasped it. It's made worse by the laziness of the Prime Minister and the fact he never masters a brief. He makes it up as he goes along."

"There are good people in the Conservative Party. There are good MPs. But, for reasons best known to Boris Johnson, he hasn't chosen to involve them."

Watch the full exchange between Professor Ashton and James in the video above