MP Helen Whatley appeared on Sky News this morning and faced questions COVID19 deaths in care homes, and the weekends Black Lives Matter protests.
Boris Johnson’s response to Black Lives Matter Protests.
Burley started by asking Whatley her views on scenes from the Black Lives Matter Protests. Whatley said understood why people are angry and the “protests reflect how people feel after the killing of a black man in America” and that the “anger was understandable”; although Whatley stopped short at excusing protestors.
Whatley said she supports the Prime Ministers, saying “it’s worrying to see violence”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed protestors had been “subverted by thuggery”. However, eyebrows have been raised at the PM’s selectiveness on what he classes as “thuggery” and what is acceptable.
The Minister took issue with people gathering while society deals with the COVID19 Pandemic. Burley asked why people from BAME communities were fined more than white people for “breaking lockdown rules”. Whatley answered by claiming BAME communities had been protesting; but also white people. Burley reminded Whatley the statistics were released before last weekend’s protests.
The minister for the health and social care asserted the public must adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
ONS Excess Deaths.
Burley went on to grill Whatley on the Governments reaction to the COVID19 pandemic and its spread into care homes. She asked the minister what she thinks the ONS’s latest excess deaths statistic would be. The minister refused to speculate but hopes that they are low.
Whatley spoke of deaths being lower now than at ‘the peak’, and how progress is being made. Surprisingly, Whatley defended the timing of the Governments lockdown. Channel 4 Dispatches reported that if lockdown was imposed 11 days earlier, 13,000 lives could have been saved. Instead, the Prime Minister was boasting about shaking hands.
COVID19 Pandemic in carehomes.
The conversation moved to the controversy surrounding the COVID19 care home and pandemics. Burley told Whatley that “57%” of people who caught COVID19 had caught it in a care home and “Government Got it Wrong“. The minister claimed that she had worked hard to protect care homes, and that “60% of care homes had no cases“.
Burley pushed on the “57%” point, but Whatley ignored this and repeated her claim that “60% of care homes had no cases“.
Whatley went on to say: “Every death is one that fills me with sadness.” “I hate the fact this has hit care homes so hard.” but that “Right now, outbreaks are under control”. Burley hit back at this, telling them MP “that as not my question”.
Burley concluded by asking Whatley why Government ‘shielded’ many with underlying health conditions; but done nothing to protect care homes? Whatley answered, but attempted to project blame at care homes, for not following guidelines.
Burley asked Whatley about a letter sent from NHS England and Government to Carehomes on the 19th March; which ordered “the safe and rapid discharge of those who no longer need to be in a hospital bed”. This policy led to people with COVID19 being placed into care homes without testing.
Whatley replied that this was a “clinical judgement about what would be in the clinical interest”. Burley snapped back “it was not a judgement, it was policy”. The minister, now flustered, retreated to the Governments “by the science” buzzword. Burley lambasted Whatley by telling her “you can’t put this on the scientists” although bizarrely, Whatley replied that she could pin it on the scientists!
Whatley backtracked claiming “that’s not what I said”. Burley was having none of it. The interview ended with a panicked and flustered Whatley, alleging that Burley had put words in her mouth.
Watch the full interview below.