Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance should be banned from Covid press briefings, says leading lawyer


Professors ‘Glum and Glummer’ Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance should be banned from Covid press briefings, says leading lawyer who warns the Government has been ‘captured’ by scientists

  • Shanker Singham said return to press conferences would mean same mistakes
  • Leading Brexit lawyer warned the Government has been ‘captured’ by scientists
  • Last month, Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick held their own press conference
  • Dubbed Glum and Glummer, they warned the infection rate could rise to 50,000 

Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance should be banned from press conferences, a former Government adviser said last night.

Influential trade lawyer Shanker Singham said a return to press conferences in which Government Ministers are flanked by the chief medical officer and scientific adviser would result in the Government ‘repeating the same mistakes’ over the Covid pandemic.

Downing Street last week said it would resume ‘regular’ press conferences amid concerns over rising infection rates. The daily events were halted in June.

Influential trade lawyer Shanker Singham said a return to press conferences in which Government Ministers are flanked by the chief medical officer and scientific adviser would result in the Government ‘repeating the same mistakes’ over the Covid pandemic

Mr Singham, a leading Brexiteer lawyer, warned that the Government has been ‘captured’ by scientists. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Ministers should go out in press conferences and answer the broader questions. Scientists and health experts shouldn’t be giving press conferences publicly without any filtering.’

Last month, Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick – dubbed Glum and Glummer by critics – held their own press conference, warning the infection rate could rise to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October. It prompted emeritus microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington of Aberdeen University to say the prediction wasn’t accurate and was ‘almost designed to scare us’.

Mr Singham said: ‘It would be a terrible mistake to repeat the press conferences we had before. They were terribly unproductive and had the wrong people in them.’

He said Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick should confine their advice to ‘a broad cross-Whitehall process’. Other matters of concern should be how the country recovers from an ‘economic disaster that could be worse than what we have experienced in 300 years’, he said.

Last month, Professor Whitty (pictured) and Sir Patrick ¿ dubbed Glum and Glummer by critics ¿ held their own press conference, warning the infection rate could rise to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October

Last month, Professor Whitty (pictured) and Sir Patrick – dubbed Glum and Glummer by critics – held their own press conference, warning the infection rate could rise to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October

Allies of Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick last night defended their prominent role in decision-making. A Cabinet source said: ‘They are our technical experts,’ adding that they had always been ‘up front’ about the economic damage from lockdown. The source said their presence at press conferences helped ‘public confidence’.

Mr Singham’s recent report on ‘economic resilience in the face of the Coronavirus challenge’ has been studied by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

A source said the report had been ‘positively received’.

Mr Singham added: ‘The priorities of the Government are the wrong priorities. There is way too much desire to essentially completely eliminate the disease and all risk in some forlorn attempt to wait for a vaccine. We’re going to have to learn to live with it [the virus]. For most people it is eminently liveable with.’

He said Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick (pictured) should confine their advice to ¿a broad cross-Whitehall process

He said Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick (pictured) should confine their advice to ‘a broad cross-Whitehall process

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