Good Morning Britain: Piers Morgan grills Brandon Lewis over UK Covid death rate

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Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis was challenged by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain over the UK’s death rate from Covid-19.

Morgan, who conducted the interview alongside co-host Susanna Reid quizzed Lewis on the high death rate in the UK after arguing that the government was using international figures to show UK vaccine rates so should be able to also compare UK death rates to the same countries. 

A graph showed that the UK was ahead of the likes of Portugal, Sweden and Slovenia for deaths in the seven day average for new Covid deaths. 

Quizzing Lewis, Morgan said: “As a Government who have spent the last three weeks giving us direct comparisons on the vaccine. You’ve got every right to say we’re doing very well but please don’t tell me you’re not in the business of direct comparisons.

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‘Given that you’ve been using international comparisons about the vaccine it’s not unreasonable to ask you why we have the worst death rate in the world.’@Piersmorgan and @susannareid100 question Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis on the UK having the worst death rate. pic.twitter.com/N5SLe7cSQz
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 19, 2021

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask why we have the worst death rate in the world.”

Responding, Lewis said: “These are different things of course Piers. The vaccine rollout is a huge success, not just for the Government to be proud of but as a country.”

Lewis was soon cut off by Morgan however who interrupted saying: “I want to talk to you about the death rate! You talk out about international comparisons all the time in relation to the vaccine performance, it is legitimate to ask you about why we have the worst death rate in the world and you can’t just bat that question away by saying you don’t want to give international comparisons, because you do when it suits you.”

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The Northern Ireland Secretary responded saying: “Every single death is one too many; it’s an utter tragedy. We all pretty much know someone now who have been affected one way or another.”

‘We cannot answer that question right now.’
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis says you ‘can’t make international comparisons’ as to why Britain has the worst Covid death rate in the world.

He tells @piersmorgan he can’t answer why Britain has the worst rate. pic.twitter.com/82zULuzxyq
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 19, 2021

Unsatisfied with the response however, Piers Morgan questioned whether the UK had been too slow over lockdown and asked “Why do we have the worst death rate in the world?” with co-host Susanna chiming in saying: “Is it because we’re slow on testing? Is it because we were slow on introducing social distancing?” 

Lewis started off an answer by saying “It’s too early to do those kinds of comparisons,” before Morgan once again interrupted, stating “Sorry, I’m really sorry, but you can’t all come on this programme every morning and boast about how well we’re doing in comparison to other countries with the vaccine and then refuse to be challenged on why we’re doing so badly on death rate.”

The number of registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has almost doubled in a week, following delayed registrations over the Christmas period, new figures have shown.

There were 17,751 deaths from all causes registered in the week ending January 8 – a “sharp increase” from the previous seven days, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Following the interview, Brandon Lewis was soon trending on Twitter, with many voicing their concern over the UK Government’s inability to answer.

One user wrote: “This is shocking why can’t the government give us a simple answer why we have the worse death rate”

Another added: “A government minister can’t answer the question but the rest of the country can! The way the pandemic has been handled by our government is shameful. Completely and utterly shameful.”

One other wrote: “He refused to answer the question, that’s why @piersmorgan went after him.”

Some however, called for Morgan to be less aggressive in his interviewing style with one writing: “Would have been nice to hear what Brandon Lewis had to say. All I could hear was Morgan butting in.”

Another user wrote: “Totally misleading, selecting current average figures, rather than looking at the overall figures of the entire pandemic. We are just coming out of our deadly second wave in part caused by a dangerous new variant”

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