‘Macho’ attitude in Number 10 led to coronavirus entering Downing Street, claims Tory MP

Prime minister Boris Johnson alongside chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance (right) and chancel

Prime minister Boris Johnson alongside chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance (right) and chancellor Rishi Sunak during a daily news conference amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Boris Johnson's inner team failed to take the coronavirus seriously enough, a Tory MP has claimed.

In Bloomberg's analysis of the coronavirus outbreak on how it led to a number of ministers, aides and the prime minister becoming infected, one Tory MP hit out at the attitudes within Downing Street.

There are fears that privately 'a trail of errors' led the prime minister to 'critical risk'.

At the start of March journalists were turning out for daily briefings, the presenters were not following social distancing, and the prime minister was still attending large events.

He was also notably telling people he was shaking all of their hands in a hospital where coronavirus had struck.

Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.

Just over a week later the health secretary, England's chief medical officer, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings were self-isolating.

You may also want to watch:

One Tory MP suggests the attitude of Johnson himself did not help change the culture.

They blame the 'macho culture and an attitude of denial' for leading to the outbreak hitting the heart of government.

Most Read

'Do not underestimate the macho nature of the Westminster political establishment. Boris will not have wanted to look weak.'

The analysis is supported by Johnson's own biographer, who says that the prime minister views himself as 'invulnerable'.

'Boris from an early age wanted to make himself invulnerable,' Andrew Gimson told the news organisation. 'Part of that was not taking illness seriously — showing that you were tough enough to work through any possible thing that you might get, and that you certainly didn't need to be wimpish about it and go and lie down. I doubt there's a single case of him telling someone 'Look, you really must go home.''

Even after diagnosis, Boris Johnson was said to carry on working, with his officials trying to play down the impact on his health until he was eventually taken to hospital and then moved to intensive care.

Asked if the government had ignored the advice it was giving to ordinary people, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: 'We're all trying our absolute best but none of us superhuman and impervious to getting sick. People are appropriately following all the guidance. That doesn't mean we can completely eliminate the spread of infection.'

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus