When the science was silenced

Jon Danzig |

The country’s top scientific advisers during the Covid pandemic are now free to tell the truth which the former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wanted to silence.

Giving evidence to the Covid public inquiry are Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s former Chief Scientific Adviser, followed by Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the former deputy Chief Medical Officer.

Also giving evidence is the current chief scientific adviser, Professor Dame Angela McLean. (It was Dame Angela who described the-then chancellor Rishi Sunak as “Dr Death” following his “eat out to help out” scheme in August 2020.)

They are exposing what really happened during what’s been described as the “chaos” surrounding the government’s attempts under Boris Johnson to contain the Covid-19 virus.  The Guardian describes it as ‘explosive evidence.’

At last, the science won’t be silenced. But that wasn’t the case during the pandemic under Boris Johnson’s rule.

For example, back in May 2020, Boris Johnson was accused of ‘Trumpesque’ behaviour after stopping his chief medical and scientific advisers from answering journalists’ questions about Dominic Cummings.

During his coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said he wanted to “draw a line” under the growing row over the actions of Mr Cummings, his chief adviser.

Mr Cummings was facing a huge backlash, and calls for him to resign, due to his 300-mile lockdown trips whilst he and his wife suffered from Covid-19 symptoms, and claiming he went for a 60-mile round-trip drive to a beauty spot to check his eyesight.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, were barred by the Prime Minister from giving their view on whether other people should follow the example of Mr Cummings.

BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg put the question directly to Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick, but Mr Johnson said:

“I’m going to interpose myself, if I may, and protect them from what would be an unfair and unnecessary attempt to ask a political question.

“It’s very, very important our medical officers and scientific advisers do not get dragged into what most people would recognise as fundamentally a political argument.”

A similar question by ITV’s Robert Peston to the advisers was also rebuffed by the Prime Minister.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said at the time that the experts should not be blocked from answering the questions.

“We want transparency here, we want to know what their view is,” he said.

Now, we get to know.

  • Watch this 2-minute video on how Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, attempted to silence his top scientific advisers.

  • Watch this 1-minute video: The scientist who broke the science

  • Watch this 1-minute video: Herd immunity WAS the government’s plan