Michael Gove told testimony on herd immunity 'would not survive' a Covid-19 inquiry
- Credit: Twitter
Piers Morgan has told Michael Gove his attempt to deny No 10 had pursued a policy of herd immunity "would not survive" a public inquiry.
Michael Gove sought to downplay the claims brought forward by senior SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) scientist Sir Patrick Vallance.
The cabinet minister, who chairs the government's Covid committee, told Good Morning Britain England's chief scientific adviser had in fact misspoken when he said No 10 had been engaged in a policy of herd immunity during an interview in March.
Bringing up the remark, Morgan said: "When you guys say you weren't doing it then why did no one tell the chief scientific adviser because he was under the impression that that was exactly what we were doing."
Gove replied that "advisers advise" while "ministers decide".
"Your chief scientific adviser, on, I think March 16, on BBC Radio 4, said quite unequivocally that we were following herd immunity and the attempt by the British government to deny what your own chief scientific adviser said on the record then, I'm afraid, will not survive a public inquiry."
Gove said that No 10 had not followed a policy of herd immunity and that Vallance had been confused.
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"So he didn't know what policy the government was following but he's your chief scientific adviser?" Morgan asked.
"Yes," Gove replied, "but I'm the minister and I can tell you that we were not following a policy of herd immunity. Our policy is informed by the science -"
Morgan cut in: "So you were following the science but ignoring the science?"
The minister said: "Our policy is informed by the science."
"But you said at the time that you were following the science. You can't be informed and following it and ignoring it. It's either one or the other," Morgan exclaimed.
"I can go back and find 100 clips of ministers saying they were following the science. You said it every single day.
"Now you're saying the chief scientific adviser had no idea what he was talking about and was talking about a policy none of you were following."
Gove said Vallance did understand government policy at the time.
He reiterated: "It is the case that scientific advisers and other advisers lay out a range of facts and a range of options and allow ministers to look at that. Obviously, there is a boundary and there are things a government can do in defiance of the science."
Taking to Twitter, Tom Canavan wrote: "Respect to @piersmorgan for calling out these charlatans."
One user wrote: "Good grief. @piersmorgan is on fire, @michaelgove is incapable of truth."
Weil Narnock quipped: "This reeks of 'I was elected to lead not to read' quote from the Simpsons movie."
Another posted: "I have never seen @michaelgove moving uncomfortably in his chair as he did in this interview."
@bighaireecoo added: "Piers Morgan tore him a new hole there. Great stuff. He looked awfy uncomfortable"
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