Covid-19: Tory MPs turn on scientific experts in build up to lockdown decision
Tory MPs have been attacking the government’s scientific experts to discourage the Prime Minister from introducing new Covid curbs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today review data on the spread of the Omicron variant and decide whether new curbs are needed ahead of New Year’s Eve.
In the build up to the decision both Joy Morrissey MP and Steve Baker have vocally opposed advice from Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. Modelling by the SAGE committee has also been questioned by Tory MPs, with politicians even instructing the media to discredit pandemic experts according to social media posts.
Conservative backbencher Steve Baker today shared a tweet which reads: “few of the experts who bay for harsh restrictions understand the lives of the underprivileged or appreciate what a classist policy ‘work at home’ is.”
The comments come after Joy Morrissey, the MP for Beaconsfield and a parliamentary private secretary to the justice secretary, described Whitty as an “unelected Covid public health spokesperson” and accused him of turning Britain into a “public health socialist state” after he advised people to prioritise important social contact at Christmas time. Morrissey deleted the tweet after receiving backlash from the public and other MPs over the comments.
Steve Baker also questioned whether Whitty was “staying within the bounds” of government policy while speaking in the House of Commons.
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, refuted claims that pandemic experts have been overstepping in an article written for The Times earlier this week.
“Speaking scientific truth to power is a difficult but necessary part of the democratic process if ministers are to be able to make an informed decision. This is what Sage does,” Vallance wrote.
Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty will brief Johnson on the current Omicron data later today ahead of the Prime Minister making a decision on whether a lockdown is needed to halt the spread of the virus.
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