Having finally had a minister appear on Good Morning Britain for the first time in more than 200 days, presenter Piers Morgan launched a tirade at health secretary Matt Hancock for his handling of coronavirus.
Morgan played back a clip of the MP in the House of Commons where he downplayed the impact of coronavirus as it arrived in the country in January, before criticising Hancock’s response.
“Well that was very reassuring when you said all that, it then turned out we had very little personal protective equipment for our health workers, so hundreds of them died, as did care workers.
“It then turned out that care homes, far from having a ring of protection which you’ve been boasting about ever since, we actually sent thousands of elderly people out of hospitals back into care homes without testing for Covid. So a new epidemic was started in care homes.
“We let, unlike many other countries, 20 million people fly into this country during the first wave – many from corona-ravaged countries.”
Morgan continued: “You said that the public didn’t need to wear masks. Now you say they do. You said it was fine to shake hands at a time the World Health Organisation were warning against shaking hands.
“You said mass gatherings were fine, which is why the Cheltenham festival went ahead, and Liverpool football matches, and pop concerts, and we now we know that was a catastrophe.
“The lockdown was at least two weeks too late. We stopped community testing at a critical time because we were pursuing – according to Patrick Valance and Dominic Cummings – a policy of herd immunity, which we then screechingly reversed.
“On the world-class testing system you promised us in January, it is still a complete shambles.
“I put it to you,” he continued, “Given that we now have over 50,000 deaths in this country, which is the worst death toll in the whole of Europe, why are you still health secretary, and why haven’t you offered your resignation?”
Refusing to be drawn on the comment about resigning, Hancock said he acknowledged there had been mistakes.
He said: “We’ve been building the response to all these enormous challenges of this unprecedented pandemic.”
Morgan’s criticism of the government won him praise for his “clear”, “factual” and “blunt” takedown of the government.
Owen Jones wrote: “If more of the media had uncompromisingly challenged the government’s catastrophic handling of the pandemic like @piersmorgan here, then tens of thousands of lives could have been saved.”
Another tweeted: “In just a few minutes, Piers Morgan holds this putrid cabal of feral shysters to account, which is more than the BBC have done in the last 6 months.”
Dr Ben White said: “Clear. Factual. Blunt. As good as it gets from @piersmorgan and Susanna Reid. About the only TV broadcasters who could say they have consistently held this govt to account over repeated Covid-19 failures.”