Boris Johnson ignored advice of four former PMs over coronavirus strategy

Former prime ministers Sir John Major (left) and Tony Blair walk across the Peace Bridge in Londonderry

Former prime ministers Sir John Major (left) and Tony Blair walk across the Peace Bridge in Londonderry - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Boris Johnson ignored the advice of four former prime ministers over his coronavirus strategy, it has been revealed.

Former Tory chancellor George Osborne revealed that Conservatives David Cameron and John Major joined forces with Labour politicians Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to write a private letter to Downing Street back in July.

They urged Johnson to focus on improving the struggling and underperforming test and trace system before the second wave hit.

"All the former prime minister's bar one wrote privately to Boris Johnson in July, saying this was the priority, and I still feel it's been too much something that has been given to the health department, given to the NHS, and the rest of the government has not thrown the full weight of the British state behind it," he told Times Radio. 

"And it's been distracted by other things, you know, and it shouldn't be this is the absolute number one overwhelming priority facing the country".

Osborne revealed how only Theresa May did not sign, as she remains a backbench MP.

Presenter Matt Chorley responded: "My understanding is it was everyone but Theresa May. I don't know why she didn't want to write the letter... 

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"If you've got Conservative and Labour prime ministers who've between them have got many decades of experience ... that I think is something that should have been listened to."

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