A minister has defended the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic after a cross-party report from MPs concluded that serious errors cost thousands of lives.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Stephen Barclay told Sky News’ Kay Burley the government “did take decisions to move quickly”, including on vaccines, and that both scientists and ministers were acting on information they had at the time.
But he admitted he had “not had chance to read” the MPs’ report, which was circulated to the media under embargo on Monday morning and also sent to government departments, including his own Cabinet Office.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Barclay was asked if the government was too slow to go into the first lockdown – a key criticism in the MPs’ report.
Well I think there is an issue there of hindsight, because at the time of the first lockdown the expectation was that the tolerance in terms of how long people would live with lockdown for was a far shorter period than actually has proven to be the case, and therefore there was an issue of timing the lockdown and ensuring that that was done at the point of optimal impact.
And so it is a point of hindsight to now say that the way that decision was shaped and how long we could lock down for… because we now know that there was much more willingness for the country to endure that than was originally envisaged.”
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