Boris Johnson is “gaslighting the nation” when he says No 10 has done all it could to minimise coronavirus deaths, a Sky News presenter has said.
Niall Paterson also accused the prime minister of being tone-deaf.
Interviewing housing minister Robert Jenrick, Paterson said: “The words of a prime minister when 100,000 people have died with Covid-19, cumulatively, his words are important, he would have thought long and hard about those words.
“He came in front of the cameras and he said, ‘we have done everything we possibly could’. He talked about exhausting the ‘thesaurus of misery’ – another totally dictionary move from the prime minister at a point when what we want is someone to say, look, we’re trying our hardest, mistakes have been made and some of those mistakes will have led to some of those numbers in that 100,000 total.
“Instead, it feels like the prime minister is gaslighting the entire nation at the moment.”
Jenrick described the analysis as “extremely unfair”. He responded: “The prime minister takes personal responsibility for steps that have been taken.
“Nobody has worked harder than the prime minister. The prime minister himself was particularly ill as a result of Covid and he’s worked extremely hard to guide the country through this period.”
Paterson’s remark comes as the UK hit a grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus death on Tuesday.
At Tuesday’s Downing Street press conference, Johnson said he was “deeply sorry” for every life lost to coronavirus as he insisted the government did “everything we could” to minimise deaths and suffering.
Johnson said: “I think on this day I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and of course as I was prime minister I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done.
“What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage…”
Taking to Twitter, Simon Crook posted: “‘Working hard’ isn’t the point, is it? I could work very hard making ashtrays for motorbikes but it counts for nothing if the end result isn’t fit for purpose. I’m so tired of this govt defending its failures.”
"Working hard" isn't the point, is it? I could work very hard making ashtrays for motorbikes but it counts for nothing if the end result isn't fit for purpose. I'm so tired of this govt defending its failures https://t.co/TuPh2um9wr
— Simon Crook (@sicrook) January 27, 2021
@ColleenOFlinn added: “Boris has done his best, it’s just that his best isn’t good enough. Sadly I fear the same will be true of the present cohort of ministers. Woefully out of their depth.”
Will P Moran wrote: “Every NHS staff member has worked a thousand times harder than the prime minister.”