Dido Harding has insisted that the much-maligned Test and Trace has been “a success”, as she suggested the media is to blame for the public’s expectation that the system would stop a second Covid wave.
The Tory peer, who led the highly-criticised organisation, said she was “proud” of her contribution to battling the pandemic, arguing that Test and Trace had a “material impact” on infections.
Her comments drew scorn from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, who accused Harding of spending “eye-watering amounts of money” on the system for minimal impact.
Nonetheless, the former TalkTalk chief claimed that the system had helped reduce infections, citing a recent National Audit Office report which suggested that it reduced the infection rate by up to 33 per cent.
“I would actually argue – and I do appreciate that a lot of people listening to this might find this rather incredulous given some of the way it’s being reported – but I would actually argue that NHS Test and Trace has been a success, that it has delivered on its objectives to help break the chains of transmission, as set out in the NAO report,” Baroness Harding said.
She added: “Test and Trace has always been one of four main planks of our Covid response, not the single one.”
But her argument did not wash with James O’Brien, who scrutinised Harding’s CV on his LBC show, calling it “an astonishing demonstration of falling upwards”.
Watch his stinging intervention here.