Priti Patel was grilled by GMB this morning [Wednesday] about the handover of the coronavirus by the government.
The Home Secretary was on the air to face the day after Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan announced the daily death toll of 1,610, the highest number since the pandemic began.
Piers Morgan had questions for Ms. Patel about the UK as the world’s highest death rate from Covid – but it was Susanna Reid who grieved the minister for relaxing the Christmas rules and said the government would blame the public for what has happened.
Priti Patel told Piers and Susanna – and the audience – that the government “has listened to advice and that individuals should only hold very small gatherings, limit numbers and reduce social contact.”
“That was what the government recommended at the time.”
But Piers said to the Home Secretary, “It was a mistake, wasn’t it? We can all see that now.”
Ms. Patel said: “That is your view.”
“At the moment we’re in a lockdown. It’s not about my opinion.”
Piers hit back with, “We’re in a lockdown now, but we weren’t in a lockdown on Christmas Day and we’re seeing 1,600 deaths.”
Priti Patel said, “We had people doing other things around Christmas, we had steps, we had strong guidance and recommendations, less travel …”
Piers replied, “I see, I’m just saying that you couldn’t meet your families now, but you could on Christmas Day.”
When Priti Patel said there were millions who did not meet, Susanna Reid added, “The law allowed millions of families to meet in groups of three households on Christmas Day” – and Piers said that many people are right for once stopped The extent of the new variant became apparent, commanding the country into a national lockdown, “the way we are now”.
“Failure to do this and allow families to meet for Christmas has now turned out to be a catastrophic mistake,” he added.
Ms. Patel added, “Well, well … we don’t know.”
“In the run-up to this Christmas season, we had repeatedly said to reduce social contact and have a very restrictive Christmas.
“We didn’t tell people to have mass gatherings.”
Piers interjected, “but you didn’t tell them they couldn’t, that’s the difference between now and then.”
“We told people not to meet with larger family members,” the Home Secretary replied.
And Susanna came across Mrs. Patel at this point and said: “You allowed them to do this according to the rules.
“You can’t say that on the one hand we allowed people to do it and on the other we told people not to do it.”
“It’s exactly what we knew you would do in December. You would allow people to do it, you would allow people to mingle, and in January you would blame the people for it did that that knew it was legitimate under the rules.
“They wanted to blame them for what happened then, even though it was within the government’s control to change it.”
Priti Patel replied, “I think first of all the government does not blame anyone. The majority of the UK public has obeyed the rules and I really just want to stress this point. We know that.
“What actually annoys me is the people who break the rules, and that’s why you hear me talk about compliance so often. That’s why you see our cops enforcing the rules.”
At the beginning of the interview, Piers Morgan asked Priti Patel why the death toll was the highest in the world.
Priti Patel replied, “Well I think we need to put a lot of this into context.
“Each one is deeply tragic and this pandemic has affected and corrupted all of our lives and there are too many families who have lost loved ones.
“Well, if I may, I don’t think there is any single factor or cause as to why so many people have died in the UK and why we have seen so much in relation to NHS pressures.
“There will be a number of reasons the numbers are so high, including those with comorbidities, certain ethnicities who are more prone to coronavirus.
“And we’ve seen that repeatedly.”
Piers asked: “These are issues that are of course relevant to most other countries in the world.
“They also have comorbidity issues, they have mixed populations and so on. They don’t seem to be unique problems for the UK and I just want to know if the government has figured out why we currently have the worst death rate in the world, why are we seeing this frightening number of people die, if most other parts of the world don’t do so, what are we doing wrong? “
Ms. Patel replied: “Well, we don’t know this isn’t happening. The way we report data is different from other countries.
“I’m not saying the table is wrong. We all collect death dates and coronavirus data very differently. We use ONS as a data collection method that is published in a way that many other countries do not publish their data.
“But I think we are in a terrible, terrible situation with a pandemic and the number of people who have tragically died. I think we can think about a lot.”