Home secretary Priti Patel has been mocked for continuing to claim “tests are available” rather than acknowledge that the public are struggling to get them.
Patel appeared on BBC Breakfast to answer questions about the fact people in some of the worst areas for coronavirus have been unable to get the kits to decipher whether they have the virus or not.
Viewers said they were switching off her “car crash” interview after presenter Dan Walker pointed out it “was reality” when she suggested there was no shortage in the tests.
“Let me give you an example of Bolton,” the presenter explained. “People in Bolton can’t get a test.”
Patel started to answer by saying: “Look, I think the reality is, I can’t speak specifically…”
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Walker snapped back: “That is the reality, you can’t get a test in Bolton. In fact in the top ten worst coronavirus hotspots in England at the moment there are no tests available.”
Patel explained: “Well you’ve already heard me say, tests are available, you heard me say, as well particularly local lockdown areas. I’ve seen this myself, I’ve seen the teams that have been working on this. Mobile testing is going in, capacity is going in, where lockdowns are taking place.
“I think it’s wrong to say tests aren’t available, new booking slots are being made available everyday, mobile testing units are being made available, and on top of that home testing kits are being issued”.
She added: “As we know there are spikes, where we have local lockdowns, and as we know we have spikes and local lockdowns we also have more staff with Public Health England going into these local areas and making testing available”.
“Car crash interview with the Home Secretary on @BBCBreakfast,” said one viewer. “’Tests in Bolton aren’t available’. ‘They ARE available’”
A second wrote: “Priti Patel giving the answers she chooses whilst ignoring the questions she has been asked … whilst never being interrupted or unchallenged on #BBCBreakfast.”
Dr Ana Mootoosamy tweeted: “Priti Patel having an absolute mare on #BBCBreakfast trying to explain what’s going on with the testing. There clearly is a problem with sample (swab) collection – does anyone know what’s actually happening with lab (test) capacity?”
@DevilsOwnHatman added: “Looking up Priti Patel in a thesaurus… ‘see car crash’.”
“At last, BBC Breakfast grown some balls and not let Priti Patel off the hook re Covid testing or lack of,” said Helen Michael.
@Fazbo96 posted: “Had to switch Priti Patel off as she’s just too vile to watch, but please tell how long it took her to start blaming the public for everything”.
There was a weak defence of the home secretary from @jbhubbard, who pointed out: “She’s not lying, there is testing available, but she conveniently forgot to mention its at the other end of country, say in Aberdeen for instance and not locally in the hotspots where it’s needed. A bit of good old fashioned truth bending at its best.”