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Minister refuses to apologise for pandemic failings which ‘cost thousands of lives’

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A cabinet minister has refused to apologise for the government’s handing of the COVID-19 pandemic despite a new report finding that errors cost “thousands of lives”.

Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay defended the government’s decision making to Sky News, saying: “We followed, throughout, the scientific advice. We got the vaccine deployed extremely quickly, we protected our NHS from the surge of cases.”

His comments come as family members who lost loved ones to COVID-19 described the MPs’ report as “laughable” for failing to take evidence from the bereaved.

The COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group criticised the parliamentary report as being “more interested in political arguments about whether you can bring laptops to Cobra meetings that it is in the experiences of those who tragically lost” family members to COVID-19.

When asked, for a second time, if he would apologise by presenter Kay Burley, Stephen Barclay replied: “Well no, we followed the scientific advice, we protected the NHS, we took the decisions based on the evidence before us.”

He made these comments despite the report finding that the delayed decision to lock down in spring last year was one of the “most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”.

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Source: The Independent, 12 October 2021

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