COVID-19: Johnson says ‘capitalism’ and ‘greed’ are behind UK vaccine success | Political news

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 COVID-19: Johnson says 'capitalism' and 'greed' are behind UK vaccine success |  Political news


Boris Johnson faces a tough end-of-term interrogation on COVID-19 by senior MPs after claiming the UK is making progress a year after its first lockdown.

In addition to his final three-week clash between Prime Minister’s Questions and Sir Keir Starmer, he faces questions from MPs who chair select committees from all parties.

His double grill comes on the eve of a potentially large Tory rebellion during a House of Commons vote on lockdown restrictions on the last day before Parliament’s Easter recess.

After PMQs, the Prime Minister faces a lengthy session before the Liaison Committee over his COVID response, as well as questions about the UK’s place in the world and the economy.

Mr Johnson’s latest questioning comes after an emotional day marking the first anniversary of his first lockdown, in which the nation is silent to remember those who died during the pandemic.

From the steps of 10 Downing Street, to Blackpool Tower and Bradford Town Hall – and from market towns to small villages, the day ended with light shows and candles for the victims.

And to a press conference in Downing Street To mark the anniversary, a tired-looking Mr Johnson – who nearly died of COVID last year – spoke about his own emotions.

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“It was like no other fight in my life”

“I definitely think this is something we will all remember and deal with in different ways – for – certainly in my case – as long as I live,” he told Beth Rigby of Sky News.

“It was an extraordinary moment in our history and a deeply difficult and distressing time. ”

Asked about the lessons learned, he said: “In retrospect, there is probably a lot that we wish we had known and a lot that we wished we had done differently then, in retrospect, because we were battling a new disease under. circumstances very different from those any previous government imagined. ”

The Prime Minister promised a memorial to those who died in the pandemic and said the nation was “step by step, jab by jab” on the path to “reclaiming our freedoms”.

But after the grim tone of his Downing Street press conference, it was reported that speaking later to Tory MPs, Mr Johnson risked igniting the EU vaccine war by joking as the reason for the success of the United Kingdom was “capitalism” and “greed”.

According to The Sun, he told MPs at a 1922 Committee meeting on a Zoom call: “The reason we have vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of the greed of my friends. ”

He reportedly added: “Actually, I regret having said it. And it was also reported that he repeatedly urged MPs, “Forget it. ”

A Downing Street spokesperson later declined to comment on what happened during the meeting, but there was no denial of the remarks reported by the Prime Minister.

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Which COVID wave was the deadliest?

At the Liaison Committee meeting, the direction of the MPs attack on COVID will be:

• Yvette Cooper, Labor chair of the Home Affairs Committee, who sharply criticized government policy on border controls and coronavirus quarantine measures;
• Meg Hiller, Labor chair of the Public Accounts Committee, criticizing test and traceability failures and the low value for money of COVID contracts;
• Jeremy Hunt, former health secretary who chairs the health and social care committee, who has at times criticized the Prime Minister’s lockdown strategy;
• William Wragg, who chairs the Constitutional Affairs Committee and has been at the forefront of requests for a public inquiry into COVID;
• Stephen Crabb, who chairs the Welsh Affairs Committee, who called for more help for people from low-income households during the pandemic.

This is Mr Johnson’s third appearance before the Liaison Committee – chaired by a Brexiteer ally, Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin – since becoming Prime Minister.

In his last appearance on January 13 of this year, Mr Johnson clashed with Ms Cooper over border controls and also raised concerns about a new Brazilian variant of COVID-19.

Members of the committee also questioned why new rules requiring all travelers to test negative before entering the UK were introduced 10 months after the start of the pandemic.

Wondering why UK borders weren’t immediately closed to Brazilian travelers after warnings of the new strain, Ms Cooper said: ‘Why aren’t you taking immediate preventative action? ”

And she added: “You make it seem like every time you are just delaying all the hard and uncomfortable decisions until the last possible minute and when so many lives are on the line, Prime Minister, is it leadership? that we really need? ”

In response, Mr Johnson rejected Ms Cooper’s claims and said huge amounts of checks were underway to see if people were self-isolating.

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