Sunak was so reckless that he didn’t even consult scientists on his controversial Eat Out to Help scheme despite the risks being "obvious" to anyone involved.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ‘thought it was OK to just let people die’ the Covid inquiry heard, following evidence given by the government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Sunak, who was Chancellor at the time, was said to be resisting a second national lockdown given the effects it would have on the economy. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was also said to be livid at the prospects of a second national lockdown and just wanted to let the deadly virus ‘rip’.
Sunak was so reckless that he didn’t even consult scientists on his controversial Eat Out to Help scheme despite the risks being “obvious” to anyone involved.
The revelations came to light after being recorded in private diaries – written as a “brain dump” by Sir Patrick as a way to protect his mental health.
A diary entry in October 2020, revealed that Dominic Cummings (referred to in the diary as DC), Mr Johnson’s former chief adviser, thought Sunak was comfortable with keeping the economy open, even if it led to further fatalities.
Sir Patrick wrote: “DC argued again (rightly) that a lockdown’s coming and therefore do it sooner rather than later, PM concludes, ‘Looks like we are in a really tough spot, a complete shambles. I really don’t want to do another national lockdown’.
“PM told that if he wants to go down this route of letting go, ‘you need to tell people – you need to tell them you are going to allow people to die’ […] Conclusion – beef up the tiers – consider a national lockdown – decide by when.
“DC says ‘Rishi thinks just let people die and that’s okay’.
“This all feels like a complete lack of leadership.”
Downing Street has said that Sunak was due to give evidence to the inquiry soon and would not comment on anything claimed during Sir Patrick’s testimony.
(Image credit: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street – Creative)
Basit Mahmoood is editor of Left Foot Forward