James O’Brien claims ‘conspiracy theorists and forelock tuggers’ are behind #SackWhitty hashtag

James O'Brien says it is 'frightening' to see a government advisor hounded on Twitter.

James O'Brien says it is 'frightening' to see a government advisor hounded on Twitter. Photograph: LBC.

A radio presenter has warned against blaming England’s top medical expert for the country’s coronavirus woes in a monologue in which he claims the blame actually lays at Boris Johnson’s feet.

James O’Brien claimed people were “going after the Chief Medical Officer” out of frustration the nation could be put under another lockdown.

Whitty was at the receiving end of the #SackWhitty hashtag on Thursday amid reports - which have now been proven false - that he advised the prime minister to impose a two-week nationwide lockdown to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.

Wednesday evening, Professor Anthony Costello, a former World Health Organisation director who now sits on the independent SAGE panel, said Whitty had called for a lockdown.

Costello then tweeted: “I’ve been told by another insider I respect that Chris Whitty does not support a 2 week lockdown, so I’m pleased to correct the record.”

O’Brien said it was “frightening” to see a government adviser trending on Twitter.

“But that’s where we’re going now, isn’t it? This combination of conspiracy theorists and forelock-tuggers going after the Chief Medical Officer.”

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Referring to the Good Friday Agreement, he said: “Remember when people were queuing up to tell me they understood the Good Friday agreement? And I didn’t?

“You sit here feeling powerless sometimes, so powerless. It’s evidentially unture what these people say but until it actually happens, you can’t prove that it’s untrue.” 

He said the fact senior US politicians were warning Johnson against breaking the Withdrawal Agreement backed his argument and said UK ministers lacked “knowledge and understanding”.

O’Brien described that it was “almost like the more knowledge and understanding you have, the sooner you will be thrown under the wheels of the ludicrous Brexity bandwagon.

“And here we are now with the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty trending on social media because all of the anger that deep, deep, deep down people know they should be directing at the prime minister, at the government, Dominic Cummings, whoever it may be.

“They have to find an outlet for it, and they can’t find a way yet to blame it on brown people, so they’re going to go after the Chief Medical Officer.”

He added: “The idea the politicians who delivered you your Brexit are beyond reproach, are infallible, you have to stay loyal, it’s utterly heartbreaking.”

Pointing out the nation could be heading towards a second lockdown, he said: “If you’re trying to tug your forelock and doff your towards Boris Johnson, and Jacob Rees-Mogg and co., how the hell are you going to be able to process this one?”

He asked, “who are you going to start shouting at now? There’s your answer, the Chief Medical Officer.

“Because maybe the alternative would be to say that Boris Johnson is a joke and of course, if you find yourself saying Boris Johnson is a bit of a joke and you voted for Brexit, let’s just say most of you aren’t ready to go there yet.”

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