Boris ally repeatedly refuses to say how Whitty or Vallance reacted to Covid rules ending

Question Time: Eustice quizzed on Whitty and Valance’s approval

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George Eustice squirmed on BBC Question Time last night after he was grilled about Boris Johnson’s move to scrap COVID-19 rules. In one awkward exchange, he refused to say whether England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance backed the decision. Mr Eustice serves in the cabinet as secretary of state for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.

He defended the Prime Minister’s decision, saying: “At some point, we’ve got to get back to living life normally”.

The minister said that although Covid rates are still high, lifting restrictions in England is “the right thing to do”.

Host Fiona Bruce grilled him on this point, saying: “SAGE is the advisory body that advises the Government.

“They have said they have not given an opinion on this. They have not been consulted on this. So where is the advice coming from?”

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Mr Eustice responded: “Well, the PM has got the chief scientific advisor and the chief medical officer.”

Ms Bruce immediately asked: “So, have they recommended this?”

The Conservative MP refused to answer, saying only that the decision “would have been discussed with them”.

The BBC host followed up: “So they have agreed to this, just to be clear?”

Mr Eustice again struggled to respond, saying that Sir Chris and Sir Patrick had “would have given advice” to the Prime Minister.

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Welsh Assembly Member Delyth Jewell said that the decision to ease restrictions was “clearly political” and “needed to be motivated by facts”.

She added: “It is quite distasteful that the Prime Minister is willing to imperil people’s lives in order to save his own life politically.”

On Wednesday the Prime Minister announced plans to ditch all restrictions one month early.


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This will make England one of the first Western countries to leave all restrictions behind.

The announcement left Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick “blindsided”, according to the Mirror.

The scientific advisers usually at Boris Johnson’s side for major Covid announcements have not been seen since the announcement.

The announcement was held in the House of Commons instead of at a Downing Street press conference as has been the usual procedure.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of Independent SAGE, said: “We haven’t discussed it there.”

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