STORY: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly said the government should “just let people die” during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than impose a second lockdown.
That’s according to Patrick Vallance, who testified on Monday as part of an inquiry into how Britain handled the crisis.
Vallance was the government's chief scientific adviser during the pandemic.
He made a note in his diary on October 25, 2020, about a meeting involving then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sunak, who was finance minister.
The diary entry recorded how Dominic Cummings, Johnson's most senior adviser at the time, relayed to Vallance what he said he heard at the meeting.
Vallance quoted Cummings in his diary as saying, "Rishi thinks just let people die and that's okay. This all feels like a complete lack of leadership."
A spokesperson for Sunak said the prime minister would set out his position when he gives evidence to the inquiry.
Previous evidence has shown Sunak was branded as “Dr. Death” by one science adviser for his policy in the summer of 2020 encouraging Britons to eat at pubs and restaurants.
Senior officials have repeatedly said the government was unprepared for the pandemic.
More than 220,000 people died in Britain and large sections of the economy were shut down.
The inquiry is set to run until the summer of 2026.