Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said there is “an opportunity to look back” at government decisions made during the pandemic as he dismissed concerns it should not have allowed households to mix over Christmas.
Gove suggested the government was not to blame for a spike in infections after Christmas during an interview on Good Morning Britain (GMB).
No 10 allowed separate households to meet in certain parts on England over Christmas, despite a warning the move could exacerbate the spread of the virus. This occurred before the government was aware of the new, more transmissible variant originating from Kent.
When GMB co-host Ben Shepard said doctors had noticed generations of the same family dying from the virus because they had mixed at Christmas, and whether the government decision had been wrong, Gove said: “My approach has been to do better every day in those things where we can improve-.”
Shepard cut in: “Do you see that as a mistake now?”
“No, and I would say that in due course we’ll have an opportunity to look back and to review the decisions-,” Gove replied before Shepard began speaking over him.
“We’re in the second wave now which is even more devastating than the first wave,” he pointed out. “Many people would have said that the time to have looked back would have been between the first wave and the second wave.
“For you to be turning around and saying we’re going to have time to look back down the line, what happens if we have a third wave and we’re still not deciding we’re going to look back and admit there were mistakes made and learn from them?
“I think what the British public want to hear is you standing up and being honest…If you say you’re going to look at this down the line, these mistakes are going to keep happening.”
Gove disagreed, countering No 10 had “improved its response in areas” such as testing and contact tracing and the vaccine roll-out.
“These are all areas where the government and those with whom we work with have been learning, in real-time, about how to improve.”
Taking to Twitter, Derek Mullen wrote: “Exactly the same argument they use against the idea of a second Scottish Independence. This government doesn’t do multitasking, does it?”
Exactly the same argument they use against the idea of a second Scottish Independence. This Government doesn't do multitasking does it?
— Derek Cush Mullen (@DerekCush) January 28, 2021
One user posted: “‘Now is not the time’ has become their stock response now, hasn’t it?”