Piers Morgan has called for the resignation of Boris Johnson in a demand for “some accountability” from the Government over its Covid-19 response.
The Good Morning Britain host this morning reacted to Boris Johnson saying he is “deeply sorry” as the number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK has exceeded 100,000.
In a series of scathing remarks, Mr Morgan questioned what the Prime Minister was sorry for, claiming “he did a lot of things wrong”.
He said: “The prime minister is sorry, he’s really sorry. He bowed his head and said all the right things.
“And empathy is fine and I am all for leaders showing empathy. But what’s he sorry for?
“Is he sorry for any of the actions he took? Judging by what he said, no he’s not. He’s not actually sorry for anything that he’s done.
“‘We did everything we could have done and we will carry on doing everything we can.’
“Now that’s not an admission of doing anything wrong, and yet the obvious conclusion from this horrible milestone is that he did a lot of things wrong and I want to start hearing this government admitting it.”
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he takes “full responsibility” for the response to the pandemic and said “we did everything we could” to minimise suffering, despite the UK Government’s figure for coronavirus deaths passing 100,000.
Co-presenter Susanna Reid added: “Late to lockdown, didn’t ban mass gatherings, we were slow on PPE.”
“We were prepared for a flu pandemic,” Piers continued. “We pursued herd immunity, but it was the wrong strategy, and then we abadoned it.”
Morgan and Reid went on to list a failed testing system, lack of PPE, the Eat out to help out scheme that “excited the virus again”.
They added that the Government had ignored advice about a circuit breaker lockdown, and said it was wrong to announce five days of eased restrictions over Christmas – which were later scrapped.
Morgan went on: “Then the new variant comes, and rather than learn all the lessons from the late lockdowns earlier in the year and just locking down immediately to suppress it – which is what Asian countries would do – we just run around for a week, two weeks, and eventually lock down in early January – by which time it was everywhere.”
“Every single step of the way Boris Johnson has been too late and too dithering, and too keen too please, and listening to too many idiots.”
‘Every single step of the way, Boris Johnson has been too late and too keen to please.’@piersmorgan and @susannareid100 react to Boris Johnson saying he is ‘deeply sorry’ as the UK Covid deaths exceed 100,000.
Watch GMB 👉 https://t.co/yyUUJmzswF pic.twitter.com/w4kQyjalHi
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 27, 2021
He added: “There is one resounding response on Twitter – resign. This is what the British public think and feel and there has to be some accountability.
Meanwhile, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said “we did everything that we could to protect people’s lives”, but admitted some things could have been done differently “with the benefit of hindsight”.
He told Sky News: “We took the decisions that we could at the time on the basis of the information that was available to us.
“And we did everything that we could to protect people’s lives and help to weather the storm, and take the country through this very challenging period.
“There is no textbook as to how to respond to a pandemic like this, but we do believe that we took the right decisions at the right time.”
His comments came as the Government’s figure for coronavirus deaths passed 100,000 – but separate data published by statistics agencies places the toll at 115,000. It is almost a year since the first known coronavirus death occurred in the UK on January 30.
Mr Jenrick said Priti Patel would set out “further steps” to control the flow of people arriving into England in a Commons statement later on Wednesday. She is expected to announce a limited plan forcing arrivals from Covid-19 hotspots to quarantine in hotels.
The move is designed to protect the country against new coronavirus variants arriving from overseas – but these are said to be softer than Ms Patel had hoped, with The Times reporting she had pushed for a temporary closure of the UK’s borders, but was overruled by Mr Johnson.
There was no official comment following the meeting of the Covid operations committee of senior ministers on Tuesday, but Whitehall sources ahead of the talks suggested the measures could stop short of mandatory hotel quarantines for all arrivals.
They suggested that the rules may only apply to British nationals returning to England from high-risk nations, with passengers expected to cover the price of quarantining.
The Times reported that the committee rejected calls for a full border closure and will instead limit it to those returning from 30 countries already covered by the travel ban, including those in South America, Portugal and Cape Verde, as well as South Africa and neighbouring nations.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the Government for failing to impose strict measures at the borders soon enough.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “We should have had comprehensive border controls in for the past year.
“Priti Patel and Boris Johnson, they tell us they want to take control of their borders, but the one time it actually mattered, and they needed to take control of our borders to protect us, they failed.
“I would urge the Government to look at a comprehensive policy, not just the hotspots, because remember, there will be areas or countries across the world where there are mutations which haven’t been identified yet because they don’t have the same level of scientific ability.”
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said a four-nations approach to the issue was being taken, while the Welsh Government said it expects to discuss the plans with Westminster.
In Scotland, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government would “go at least as far” as England in enhancing quarantine arrangements.