Rory Stewart has been widely praised for an interview given in March 2020 in which he outlines policies which could have curtailed the spread of coronavirus.
The former Tory leadership candidate, who ran against Boris Johnson in 2019, recommended closing schools and offices to combat COVID-19, prior to the policies being announced by the UK Government.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental in persuading the Government to bring in the first lockdown, today suggested that between 20,000 and 30,000 lives could have been saved if the UK had locked down a week earlier.
He said there was a growing realisation in early March 2020 that the country was heading for a large number of deaths.
“Lions led by donkeys”
It comes after Dominic Cummings said the government’s pandemic response was very much a case of “lions led by donkeys” in an astonishing admission.
Signalling that those at the top, including the prime minister and the health secretary, were out of their depth, he told MPs:
“In any sensible, rational government it is completely crazy that I should have been in such a senior position. I’m not smart. I’ve not built big things in the world.
“The leadership, people like me and the prime minister and the secretary of state for health, we let down the people on the front line.”
“System that has gone extremely badly wrong”
He said the system is largely to blame for these faults, pointing to the two candidates competing in the 2019 election.
“Any system which gives you the choice between [Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn] … is obviously a system that has gone extremely badly wrong.”
“There are so many thousands of people who could obviously provide leadership better than those two.”
Is Stewart one of them? We’ll leave that to you to decide:
Rory Stewart should use this video in every campaign he ever runs.
His views on coronavirus on 12th March.pic.twitter.com/PrM4bhsbMT
— Sam Bright (@WritesBright) June 10, 2020
Related: Hancock to respond to Cummings’ claims