The COVID inquiry is about “scapegoating” those at the top of government, Boris Jonnson’s sister has told the Politics at Jack and Sam’s podcast.
Ahead of the former prime minister taking the stand on Wednesday and Thursday, Rachel Johnson has said the multi-year inquiry is a “show trial” just like the Parliamentary Privileges inquiry into partygate.
She told the podcast by Sky News and Politico that “100% it’s about scapegoating because, as I said, it’s already been agreed that lockdown was the right thing to do.
“Therefore, the only questions they can really ask is, was it done properly? And if not, who do we blame? So this is going to follow the model of all public inquiries in recent years.
“Rather than learn lessons for the future, for the next pandemic, which is going to come down the pike. They are spending £100m of taxpayers’ money working out who to blame most for the past rather than using that money to get our pandemic plan or our pandemic response geared up and match fit for the next pandemic. It is driving me mad.”
Mr Johnson is expected to issue an apology on behalf of the government about the early handling of the pandemic, but defend his personal behaviour. He will point to shifting advice and the nature of the pandemic, as well as a desire to pit advisers against one another to get the best out of them.
Rachel Johnson says that while of course the government led by her brother made mistakes, it also did things well and “they should be applauded”.
How Johnson the Comeback Kid plans to approach COVID inquiry
Hancock acknowledges lockdown-breaking clinch harmed public confidence
However, she does suggest the government was not well equipped for the types of decisions it needed to take because lockdown affected people’s homes and the key figures in the room were all men.
“It was an ill-equipped government to take these massive decisions that affected the everyday lives of the entire country because they only had four blokes basically in the room, you know, Matt Hancock, Cummings, Michael Gove and the one we are not mentioning [Mr Johnson],” she said.
“And at the time I thought this is probably insane that these four men, who’ve never changed a nappy or, as Alison Pearson so brilliantly said, couldn’t pick out their own children in a school photo, are micro-managing every single aspect of our lives.”
The COVID inquiry rejects any suggestion that it has pre-determined its findings.
Find out more about what Boris Johnson will tell the COVID inquiry on the Politics at Jack and Sam’s podcast.