British PM Boris Johnson and his Government are accused of “trying to gag” medical experts after they dropped the chief nurse Ruth May from a daily briefing, as reported by The Independent.
It has been reported that May refused to back Johnson’s number two, Dominic Cummings, over his recent lockdown breaking and the resultant furore.
The incident adds to the pressure the government faces over its response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen 297,000 confirmed cases across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 41,736 deaths.
Johnson has been accused of ignoring scientific advice throughout the crisis, delaying a lockdown for several weeks and making a U-turn on an earlier attempt at a herd-immunity strategy.
Most recently the Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted the government may overrule experts on social distancing measures as they seek to reopen shops and pubs nationwide.
The latest incident came as part of the protracted saga which saw Cummings – an unelected advisor and Brexit architect responsible for the famous NHS bus stunt – travel 400km across the country on March 31st in the midst of strict lockdown measures.
Cummings reasoned he behaved "legally" and has since refused to resign in the face of enormous public pressure to do so.
On June 1st May was due to appear at a press briefing alongside health secretary Matt Hancock. However, during practice questions she was asked about Cummings and made clear she would not support his actions. She was swiftly removed from the briefing.
On 30th May, England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, also failed to back Cummings telling reporters: “In my opinion the rules are clear and they have always been clear,” he said.
“In my opinion they are for the benefit of all. In my opinion they apply to all.”
He has not appeared at a briefing since.
“The reports over the weekend regarding the silencing of England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, were incredibly concerning, particularly as there have already been accusations that the government is trying to gag the experts who appear at the daily press conferences over the Dominic Cummings controversy,” Liberal Democrat Munira Wilson told The Independent.Do you have an idea for a story?
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