PIERS Morgan ripped a minister apart for saying that she had not heard of Exercise Cygnus on the coronavirus crisis plan.
The TV host this morning lambasted Backup Minister Victoria Atkins for apparently not hearing about the pandemic preparedness test.
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He questioned the minister on the project after the Sun’s revelation that a report on a disaster plan warned that Britain was “critically” under-prepared for any deadly pandemic.
Code-named Exercise Cygnus, he saw a three-day dry test of how the health service would deal with a major flu epidemic.
NHS hospitals, local authorities and key government departments were included in the operation which took place in October 2016.
Ministers were briefed on the results of Cygnus, which revealed that there were significant gaps in the NHS’s “peak capacity” and included a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and beds in the units. intensive care (ICU).
When questioning Ms. Atkins about it today, Piers said, “As the minister of government in charge of safeguarding, you don’t seem to know, do you?”
“Do you know the Cygnus exercise? “
Ms. Atkins tried to explain that she was concentrating on the affairs of the Home Office, but was interrupted.
Mr. Morgan continued, “I know what you’re focusing on, you’re a member of Her Majesty’s government, I’m just asking if you’ve heard of Exercise Cygnus, yes or no? “
The Conservative MP again insisted that this was not her area, saying, “I am the Minister of the Interior, I am focused on my portfolio, these questions are about science. “
Piers interrupted him: “It’s not a question of science, you’re still smiling like it’s all a big joke.
“With the utmost respect, the government continues to send ministers like you who have no idea.
“Do you see what it looks like for viewers? “
The minister could not explain what the operation was about, although the host repeatedly asked him to name only part of it.
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Piers also challenged the Minister to find out why the threat level of Covid-19 had been lowered on March 19 and accused Ms. Atkins of laughing.
The furious host replied, “You are a government minister responsible for safeguarding, you can laugh, I don’t know why you keep laughing at this, it’s not funny. “
Ms. Atkins dismissed the charge, saying, “I didn’t, and I know you accused another colleague of laughing. “
An angry Piers insisted: “You literally just laughed, we saw you laughing.
“You demoted this so that you do not have a legal obligation to give our health workers the right amount of PPE kit, this is a demonstrable fact. “
The GMB host became known for his aggressive interrogation of senior ministers during the crisis during the morning broadcast.
So far, he’s had furious arguments with Helen Whately, Oliver Dowden, Matt Hancock and now Ms. Atkins.
But government insiders say private discussion groups led by No10 assistants during television appearances reveal that viewers take sides with the ministers during these sessions.
Piers’ interrogations are perceived by them as “unreasonable” and sympathy for their argument soars.
A cabinet source said, “He doesn’t know it, but Piers is doing us a great favor.
“Whenever they yell at ministers, the public usually takes their side.
“This is why we continue to send ministers to him. “
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