Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Was professor's affair outed to hide UK's death stats? Tom Swarbrick in angry row
6 May 2020, 08:16
Tom Swarbrick and John Sweeney were involved in a heated row over whether Professor Neil Ferguson should have resigned after breaking the lockdown.
The professor was a senior member of the scientific body SAGE and played a leading role in persuading Boris Johnson to instigate a coronavirus lockdown in the UK.
But yesterday, he was forced to resign after it emerged he broke those measures to visit a married woman who he was having an affair with.
Broadcaster John Sweeney insists it is a witch-hunt and has only come out now to keep the fact that the UK now has the worst death toll in Europe off the front pages.
Tom disagreed and a fiery row followed.
Mr Sweeney said: "You've forgotten the simple statistic that appeared this evening, which is that Britain has the highest number of deaths in Europe bar none.
"And it's weird, is it not, that this story about the professor's sex life pops up today. Isn't it? Do you get the context here?
"Is it possible that this is a dirty tricks campaign by this government? People like Dominic Cummings who played the game so naturally that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to resign and hand over to someone else because he didn't like his game."
Tom told him: "Let's stick to what we know, rather than what we think might be going on."
But Mr Sweeney insisted: "What we do know is that Britain today has the highest number of Covid deaths in Europe. We know that. I think it's worth bearing that in mind when this story breaks."
Tom insisted: "Those two facts can exist alongside one another. It is the case that Britain has this horrendous statistic.
"But you're suggesting that the Telegraph and the rest of the media, even me, is being led by a Downing Street operation to control the news so that the statistic you've just said on the media is to be hidden by the fact this story is out there?"
The guest insisted: "I don't care about his sex life. This man, to me, is a hero. He's the man who persuaded Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and the government to have a lockdown."
The row continued and got more and more heated. Hear it in full at the top of the page.