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Tory minister left red-faced after admitting he ‘doesn’t know’ the number of people tested for Covid-19

Justice secretary Robert Buckland on BBC Breakfast - Credit: Twitter

One of Boris Johnson’s ministers was left red-faced after he failed to say how many people had received a coronavirus test on Wednesday during an appearance on BBC Breakfast.

Buckland, the minister for justice, suggested over quarter of a million people had been tested on Wednesday but had to quickly retract that statement when he was told he was quoting the figure of tests processed, and not the number of people who have been tested. 



Speaking with the BBC’s Charlie Stayt, Buckland suggested data he had seen over the past few days showed more than 250,000 people had been tested for the virus per day.

Unpleased with the response, Stayt said: “I think it’s really important we get clarity on this. You’re quoting the number of tests processed. The question I’m asking very clearly, and we have been down this path before, is how many people have been tested.”

In a deadpan tone, the minister responded: “I haven’t got the up-to-date figure with regard to yesterday but what I’m trying to do -“

“Most recent?” interrupted Stayt.

The minister ignored the question and continued: “What I’m trying to do is take the point you’ve made about the need to continue to scale up our efforts and also to increase the speed by which we return those tests answers.”

Responding the footage of the interview on Twitter, one user wrote: “We are still on the same roundabout with no exit off it. Useless the lot of them, absolutely useless.”

Chris Olley posted: “They don’t get that people are fed up, they only care about back benchers being fed up.”

Another user, by the name Serious Feather, quipped: “This is like a dark Carry On movie.”

Others were a little more sympathetic towards the minister.

“Why is the focus on how many tests/people were tested? The timeliness of a correct result and the necessary change bract tracing and isolations are the key!” posted P Walker.

Len P added: “To be fair, he’s the justice secretary, not health.”

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