Piers Morgan has accused the business secretary of a ‘bare-faced’ lie over claims that 240,000 people were tested for the coronavirus at the start of the week.
The Good Morning Britain presenter challenged Alok Sharma over the claims he made during a BBC interview.
‘Alok Sharma has literally just gone on the BBC and, unchallenged, has just claimed that 240,000 people got tested on Monday. That is a bare-faced lie,’ Morgan alleged on-air.
‘I would say [this] to his face if we weren’t still subject to the government boycott.’
Government ministers have boycotted the programme for 57 days after alleging they were bullied by Morgan during live interviews.
The host went on to accuse Sharma of burying the real testing numbers. ‘That is the bogus figure of tests they claim they have done,’ Morgan argued. ‘It has nothing to do with the number of people being tested. The fact that a government minister doesn’t know that, or knows it and is lying… He’s either stupid or a liar.’
Viewers were then told that testing was ‘the crucial way out of this… until we have a vaccine.’
He added: ‘We’re not telling people the truth about the testing. We’re not tracing them, we’re not isolating them. The whole system isn’t working. The whole thing is a farce.’
This comes as Boris Johnson announced plans to relax social distancing measures from July 4 when pubs and restaurants re-open to the public. At the same time, Johnson stressed there was no ‘current risk’ of a second wave of Covid-19 hitting Britain.
Health leaders, however, have cautioned the prime minister, warning Britain must prepare for the ‘real risk’ of a second peak.
‘While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk,’ they said.
‘Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.’