Jacob Rees-Mogg has blamed ‘the weather’ for the UK’s high coronavirus death toll, as the number of excess deaths passed the 65,000 figure.
The Tory MP and leader of the House of Commons faced questions about the government’s ‘shocking’ record of handling the coronavirus, with Labour MP Richard Burgon demanding a ‘debate on comparisons with other countries’ handling of coronavirus so that we can learn from best practices’.
He said: ‘Nothing highlights the deep failings in the government’s response to coronavirus like our shockingly high deaths per million rate, in comparison with that of many other countries,’ Mr Burgon said.
‘We are very near the top of the deaths per million table, and that is a national scandal. Our deaths per million rate is six times higher than that in Germany, 100 times higher than that in South Korea and 150 times higher than that in Australia and New Zealand.’
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But Rees-Mogg said comparisons were unhelpful, and claimed the weather could have contributed to the UK’s devastating figures.
He said: ‘A wide range of factors have affected death rates in different countries.
‘Even things as simple as the weather may have influenced how the virus has spread, and so may the practices of individual cultures and societies.
‘I think, therefore, that these headline comparisons are not necessarily enormously illuminative.’
A government minister earlier this month blamed the high death toll on the fact the UK is a ‘global travel hub’. He said: ‘We are a global travel hub and we were always going to face big challenges.’