Boris Johnson apologises for ‘pain and loss’ of Covid victims as he’s grilled over handling of pandemic at inquiry | The Sun

BORIS Johnson today apologised the public for the "pain and the loss of life" experienced during the pandemic.

In his opening remarks at a showdown hearing of the Covid Inquiry, the ex-PM said: "Can I just say how glad I am to be at this inquiry and how sorry I am for the pain and the loss and the suffering of the Covid victims."

As he apologised the ex-PM was heckled by members of the public sitting in the Inquiry viewing gallery.

A sign was unfurled reading: "The Dead can't hear your apologies."

They were ordered to leave the room by Chair Lady Hallet.

Early in his testimony Boris admitted that "we got things wrong".



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He confessed to the £100m Inquiry, which critics have slammed as a waste of time, that "unquestionably" things should've been done differently.

The ex-PM said: "Inevitably in the course of trying to handle a very, very difficult pandemic in which we had to balance appalling harms on either side of the decision, we may have made mistakes."

"I think we were doing our best at the time, given what we knew."

He added: "With hindsight, it may be easy to see things that we could have done differently or it may be possible to see things that we could have done differently.

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"At the time, I felt and I know that everybody else felt that we were doing our best in very difficult circumstances to protect life and protect the NHS."

Asked by Hugo Keith KC if his decisions led to anyone dying from Covid who otherwise wouldn't have, Boris responded: "I'm not sure."

He said: "Irrespective of government action, we have an elderly population, extremely elderly population.

"We do suffer, sadly, from lots of Covid-related comorbidities and we are a very, very densely populated country.

"That did not help."

The ex-PM added that the only easy decision he made during the pandemic was to speedily roll out vaccines.

"When it came to the balance of the need to protect the public and protect the NHS and the damage done by lockdowns, it was incredibly difficult," he said.

Asked about whether there was a toxic atmosphere in No10, Boris admitted his administration had a lot of "challenging and competing characters" but they got "an awful lot done".

The ex-PM added that the "gender balance of my team should've been better".

He said "too many meetings were too male dominated".

Last month deputy cabinet secretary Helen McNamara, the second most senior official in government and the most senior woman, argued that throughout the pandemic she was operating in a system where women were not listened to or respected.

This morning Covid-bereaved families accused Boris of preparing to deliver a “grotesque distortion of the truth” to the Inquiry.

At a press conference a solicitor for the families insisted there was a “deadly culture of impunity, arrogance, incompetence” in No10.

The solicitor said: “He did let bodies pile high and the elderly were treated as toxic waste.”

The UK administered the first Covid-19 jab in the world in December 2020 after emergency authorisation was granted by British regulators.

As regards the timing of the first lockdown, BoJo was also warned of the impact on schoolchildren, the knock-on effects on the economy and mental health implications.

Chief medical adviser Sir Chris Whitty told him: “You can’t go too late, but there are also risks with going too early.”

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Sir Chris attended an emergency Cobra meeting on March 9, 2020, saying the timing of any restrictions was “crucial” to public support.

At a press conference that day, Sir Chris said: “If we go too early, people will understandably get fatigued and it will be difficult to sustain this over time so getting the timing right is absolutely critical to making this work.”

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