Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Boris Johnson was wrong to impose lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic and said he would not rule out a leadership challenge.
Hunt was also highly critical of Boris Johnson for making “mistakes” during the crisis.
Asked about lockdowns on GB News, Hunt said: “I actually thought we could have avoided all lockdowns if we had been much quicker and set up test and trace as they did in South Korea and Taiwan.
““Those two places actually didn’t have any lockdowns at all in 2020 so that would have been my preferred route.”
Hunt added that he would not rule out running as leader to succeed Boris Johnson.
Referring to his new book, called “Zero: Eliminating preventable harm and tragedy in the NHS”, he said: “Well, I’m not sure people will have me when they’ve read this book…but I’ve always said that I don’t rule out going back into frontline politics and even having a crack at the top job.”
“I know we’ve all thinking about Partygate at the moment. I don’t think that’s what will determine the next election. I think the big issues around the economy, the international situation, who’s got the best plan for the long term future for the country…”
“If we had a hiatus right now, and it takes several months to change a leader because of the conservative party rules, I think Putin will be absolutely delighted and it would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.”
Hunt said the Prime Minister had made mistakes, including imposing lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m obviously a totally different person to Boris.”Jeremy Hunt
“In fact, I think everyone in the world is a totally different person to Boris because he’s such a unique person.”
“Would I have done things differently during the pandemic, if I had been Prime Minister and won that contest in 2019? For sure.
“Would I have made some of the mistakes that Boris made? I don’t think I would have because of my experience as Health Secretary but I would have made different mistakes.
“I think it’s impossible to go through something as extreme as a pandemic and get everything right, not just in this country, but actually leaders all over the world.”
He also said that failure to improve social care services has played a part in longer waiting times in NHS hospitals and the UK needs to train more doctors and nurses.
“France has 20 per cent more doctors per head. Germany has 60 per cent more doctors per head. We have chronically too few doctors, nurses, midwives. That’s the first thing.”Jeremy Hunt
He added: “The second thing is we’ve got to reverse the terrible mistake that was made under the Blair government two decades ago, when we scrapped people having their own family doctors.
“Patients, obviously we’re very sad to have a system that most of us now have. We are not attached to a doctor, you’re attached to a surgery.”
Hunt continued: “But last year, we saw the clinical evidence that you are 30% less likely to go to hospital. If you see the same doctor over a long period of time and are 25 per cent less likely to die.”
“And why is that? Because if you have a doctor who knows your family, you are far less likely to have a misdiagnosis.
“They’re far less likely to miss a crucial sign that you could have cancer and it was just a big, big mistake.”