John Bercow launched a scathing attack on the government’s handling of the pandemic today, demonstrating the sort of gloves-off approach he was not afforded as speaker.
Commenting on the prospect of resignations in the aftermath of the latest testing blunder, he told Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that “this is a government that doesn’t believe in accountability.
“If the prime minister is not going to accept or demand the resignation of the secretary of state for education after the exam fiasco, if he’s not going to ask for the resignation of the health secretary despite the fiasco over which he has provided then manifestly he is not going to resign himself”.
John Bercow . In 1 minute speaking the truth about this Government. Something he could never do when speaker pic.twitter.com/FBXEQrWJE7— cornethead (@cornethead) October 6, 2020
The race is on
The race was on this morning to trace contacts of almost half of the thousands of positive coronavirus cases initially not recorded in England due to a technical glitch, as infection rates rise in northern university cities.
Some 49 per cent of the almost 16,000 cases had still not been reached for contact tracing purposes as of Monday morning, following data issues over the weekend.
Addressing the House of Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the technical problem with the system “that brings together” data from NHS test sites and tests processed by commercial firms “should never have happened” but he insisted the team had “acted swiftly to minimise its impact”.
“Putting lives at risk”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said problems with testing were “putting lives at risk” and that as many as 48,000 contacts may not have been traced due to the glitch.
The Department of Health dismissed reports of issues with phone lines hampering contact tracers’ efforts.
The Times newspaper said contact tracers had reported conversations disconnecting mid-call, but a spokesman for the department said no such incidents had been reported either on Monday or over the weekend.
He said: “Every single person who tested positive was told their results and to self-isolate and we have already contacted over half of the affected cases for contact tracing purposes.”