Rishi Sunak claimed in a Spectator interview he had often been the sole critic of Government decision-making during the pandemic.
“We didn’t talk at all about missed (doctors’) appointments, or the backlog building in the NHS in a massive way. That was never part of it,” he said.
The meetings were “literally me around that table, just fighting”, which “was incredibly uncomfortable every single time”.
Mr Sunak faced a backlash from scientists after claiming independent experts were given too much power during the pandemic, with concerns about the economic and social impacts of lockdowns not properly considered.
One of the key players within Government during the crisis, he said “if you empower all these independent people, you’re screwed”.
He also claimed that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) edited its minutes to hide dissenting opinions.
But Sage members rejected Mr Sunak’s characterisation of the situation, while former Number 10 insiders described his comments as “simply wrong” and “dangerous rubbish”.
Professor Graham Medley, a member of Sage, said: “Government have the power, so if one member of Cabinet thinks that scientific advice was too ‘empowered’ then it is a criticism of their colleagues rather than the scientists.
“The Sage meetings were about the science, not the policy options, and the minutes reflect the scientific consensus at the time.”