Boris Johnson says coronavirus crisis has been a ‘disaster’ for the country

Boris Johnson answers questions on the coronavirus crisis on Times Radio. Photograph: YouTube.

Boris Johnson answers questions on the coronavirus crisis on Times Radio. Photograph: YouTube. - Credit: Archant

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the coronavirus crisis had been a 'disaster' and an 'absolute nightmare' for the country, but still has refused to commit to an inquiry.

He told Times Radio that he now wanted to focus on how the country can 'bounce forward'.

'This has been a disaster, let's not mince our words, this has been an absolute nightmare for the country,' he said.

'The country has gone through a profound shock. But in those moments you have the opportunity to change and to do things better.

'We really want to build back better, to do things differently, to invest in infrastructure, transport, broadband - you name it.'

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He continued: 'I think of course, you know, we owe it to all those who have died, all those who have suffered, to look at exactly what went wrong and when, I totally understand and we will...

'I happen to think that the moment is not right now in the middle of a ready getting things going, still dealing with the pandemic, when everybody is flat out, I don't think the moment is right now for concentrating a huge amount of official time to all that. But we are learning lessons the whole time and we obviously we will draw the right conclusions for the future.'

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Responding to criticisms, he added: 'I do think by the way that some things you did feel very, very tough and you're right that you know people say other things like that.'

But Johnson refused to be drawn on specific instances, instead looking at the alleged successes from the government response, pointing to the Nightingale hospitals as one example.

His comments came as Labour leader Keir Starmer toured studios to criticise the response - saying that the prime minister's words were far from a laughing matter.

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