Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will be bracing for fresh criticism of their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as Sir Patrick Vallance takes the stand at the Covid inquiry on Monday morning.
The government’s former chief scientific adviser is due to give evidence from 10:30am, and will likely face questioning on personal diary entries handed to the inquiry – which have offered up worrying insights into the then-prime minister’s handling of the crisis.
Those diary entries have suggested Mr Johnson was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate”, and have revealed that the then-prime minister once referred to the Treasury – led at the time by Mr Sunak – as the “pro-death squad”.
Following a week’s break, Sir Patrick’s full day of testimony marks the resumption of a round of politically explosive hearings involving a cast of former officials embedded deep in the heart of government during the pandemic, including Dominic Cummings, Lee Cain and Helen MacNamara.
The inquiry is set from former chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty on Tuesday, followed by his deputy Professor Jonathan Van-Tam on Wednesday.
Diaries likely to be focus of Sir Patrick Vallance’s testimony
Sir Patrick Vallance is likely to be quizzed on diary entries he has submitted to the Covid inquiry detailing his experiences of advising Boris Johnson’s government during the pandemic.
Those entries have already provided significant insights into the chaos and disagreements within government as political leaders sought to find the best way through the crisis.
They have also offered revelations into how the prime minister and Treasury’s approaches were at times viewed by Sir Patrick. In one extract, Mr Johnson is said to have joked about the Treasury being “the pro-death squad” during the pandemic because it wanted to ease lockdown restrictions quickly:
Andy Gregory20 November 2023 09:56
Good morning, we’ll be using this blog to provide you with live updates on the Covid inquiry, as former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance gears up for a full day of testimony.
Andy Gregory20 November 2023 09:50