The rule-breaking seen in the ‘Partygate’ scandal has been branded ‘disappointing’ by a top government scientist. Sir Patrick Vallance became a household name during the pandemic as he co-hosted Covid-19 briefings from No 10.
The Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of the United Kingdom, Sir Patrick played a key role in the Government’s response to Covid-19. Sir Patrick spoke out after he received the upgraded honour of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath at Buckingham Palace, reports MirrorOnline.
He told ITV: “It was really important at all stages that everyone stuck to the rules, there’s no question about that. It only works when people stick to them and it’s very disappointing that that wasn’t the case.”
As the Duke of Cambridge presented Sir Patrick with the gong, the 62-year-old joked that this was “second time lucky” as he was originally knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours list.
It comes as Boris Johnson has been battling to regain control after surviving a no confidence vote on Monday (June 6) night. A hefty 41% of his own MPs said they didn’t back him.
Asked about the chief scientist’s remarks, the PM’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson had “offered his apologies for what happened” during Partygate. We remain grateful to him and all the scientists and academics, researchers who played such an invaluable role in the Government’s response.”
He suggested that Mr Johnson had not spoken to Sir Patrick about the rule-breaking that took place in Downing Street that led to 126 fines. In his interview, the scientist said the darkest days of the pandemic came amid the “huge uncertainty” about the fast-spreading virus.
Sir Patrick recalled “difficult” times and said there will be further waves of infection, but the nation should now be in a better place to deal with it.
“The darkest days were in many ways the early days of the pandemic when obviously lots of people became very ill quite quickly – obviously people in the Government fell ill and the Prime Minister was very ill, and those were very difficult days. It was mostly about the uncertainty.
“We did not know much about the virus. We did not know much about exactly how it spread.
“We did not know there were going to be vaccines and treatments. We hoped there would be and we were trying to work on them, but we just did not know. There was huge uncertainty at that time and that was most difficult.”