We are all paying the price for the Tory government’s preoccupation with Brexit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands outside 10 Downing Street as he joins in the applause to salute

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands outside 10 Downing Street as he joins in the applause to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Government negligence over coronavirus comes as a result of Tory preoccupation with Brexit, and we are all paying the price.

Thousands of deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic is a tragic if inevitable statistic. Dozens of deaths of NHS frontline staff and care workers, however, represents negligence of stupefying dimensions. Now that a leaked Department of Health and Social Care report has confirmed the May and Johnson governments' total failure to act on the conclusions of the 2017 Exercise Cygnus report, responsibility for the deaths of so many health workers lies firmly on the heads of the 2017-2019 government and its successor.

The prime minister now refers to the NHS as 'the beating heart of the nation' but he leads a Conservative government and served in the cabinet of its predecessor, both of which have gone some way to starving this 'beating heart' of the oxygen it needs to function properly.

Even Leavers cannot in all honesty deny that the preoccupation with Brexit has contributed to the government's negligence in failing to make adequate preparations for the current pandemic. It is an appalling tragedy that many NHS staff and care workers have paid the ultimate price for these shortcomings.

Anthony West

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While Priti Patel's statement hailing the drop in shoplifting has elicited quite a bit of ridicule, it has also done something much worse.

It has deflected attention from the fact that 20,000 people in the UK have died in hospital from coronavirus. That is one of the worst performances in the world and is a damning indictment of this government's tried-and-tested approach of using egregious nonsense to distract people.

People are dying because this government made bad decisions and wasted time while Italy and Spain struggled. They condemned and ridiculed those countries and did nothing to protect the people here.

Do not let them gaslight you into believing that they have achieved anything of merit by seeing a drop in shoplifting or that it would be very unreasonable to hold them accountable for thousands of deaths.

Audrey Christophory

Covid-19 is another one of those epochal moments when immense change happens in a short period of time. The Tories don't have the noddle to see this because it is the (now) utter irrelevance of Brexit that they think is the real story of our time.

Keir Starmer ('Starmer's battle on three fronts', TNE #191) should be setting up a task force to prepare for the post-Covid-19 and post-Brexit country Labour will surely inherit. The UK can't get left behind again like it did after the Second World War.

Will Goble


Boris Johnson's experiences in ICU will have had a profound effect on him psychologically. Are we sure he is fit to return to lead a government 18 days later?

In rugby or football where a player on the pitch has suffered a head injury, the rules are that for the safety of the player and the wellbeing of the team, the victim cannot self-declare his own fitness to return to the field of play.

What process is there to safeguard the nation from a situation where an unfit prime minister returns to the head of government?

This is not just a medical question,

this is a constitutional question. Where are the checks and balances in the system?

John Edwards


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