Tory peer calls for inquiry after saying coronavirus had been handled ‘badly’

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Medical Office

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, during a media briefing in Downing Street (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire) - Credit: PA

Tory peer Matthew Ridley has called for a in-depth inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Brexiteer said he feared MPs were covering their involvement in the debacle, urging the government to act.

'[The] problem that we've got is that both politicians and scientists are frantically putting stuff out there to help them in a forthcoming inquiry rather than to solve the problem I suspect,' he told Tory-supporting website Conservative Home.

Hereditary Tory peer Matthew Ridley; Parliament

Hereditary Tory peer Matthew Ridley; Parliament - Credit: Archant


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Ridley went on to say they had dealt with outbreak 'badly', calling the spread of the virus into hospitals and care homes the 'biggest mistake' the government made.

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'Our biggest mistake was letting it get into hospitals and care homes and not realising it was spreading within these institutions,' he said. 'The wave of deaths has been the people in the care system already mostly, not people coming into it.'

He added: 'We've misread the epidemic quite badly in epidemiological terms … at an early stage.'

But despite admitting mistakes, the former Northern Rock chair wanted the government to quicken the easing of lockdown, urging ministers to do more to allay public concerns.

He said: 'I find it baffling that the government is so reluctant to ease lockdown. It is doing so based on public opinion because it's finding people are still scared. Well of course they are scared. It's very easy to scare people, it's not so easy to unscare them.'

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