During Wednesday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, Piers and co-presenter Susanna Reid commented on the PM’s public address the previous evening, in which he said he was “deeply sorry for every life lost”.
Johnson went on to say his government “did everything that we could to minimise suffering and minimise loss of life in this country as a result of the pandemic”, adding: “What I can say is that the government will continue to do everything we can to minimise life lost as we go forward.”
The following morning, Piers told GMB viewers: “The prime minister, he’s sorry. He’s really sorry, he bowed his head, and said all the right things.
“And empathy’s fine, I’m all for leaders showing empathy, but what’s he sorry for? Is he sorry for any of the actions he took? And judging by what he said, no he’s not. He’s not actually sorry for anything he’s done.”
Quoting the prime minister, Piers said: “‘We’ve done everything we could have done… and we’ll carry on doing everything we can’. That’s not an admission of doing anything wrong, and yet the obvious conclusion from this horrible milestone is that he did a lot of things wrong. And I want to start hearing this government admitting it.”
The pair then began listing the government’s shortcomings in the pandemic, with Susanna stating: “[We were] late to lockdown, didn’t ban mass gatherings, we were slow on PPE...”
“We prepared for a flu pandemic,” Piers continued. “We pursued herd immunity, because that’s what you do with flu, but it was the wrong strategy. Then we abandoned it
“We had a testing system that didn’t work. We had no PPE, which is why 800 health and care workers have died.
“Through the summer, what did we do? We had Eat Out To Help Out, what did that do? Excited the virus again, didn’t it? Had millions of people all crammed into small places.”
Susanna added: “We ignored the advice about a circuit breaker and went late into a lockdown in November, which really wasn’t a very strict lockdown at all.
“And then at the end of November the government announced that come Christmas, we could all have a big party.”
“Five days,” Piers agreed. “Which made no sense to anybody. Without testing… how could that possibly have made any sense? It didn’t.
“Then the new variant comes. And rather than learn all the lessons from the late lockdowns earlier in the year, and just locking down immediately to suppress it… we let it just run around, for a week. Two weeks. Eventually locked down in early January. By which time it was everywhere. And now we see 1500, 1600, 1700 deaths recorded every single day.”
Piers added: “Every single step of the way Boris Johnson has been too late and too dithering, and too keen to please, and listening to too many idiots in his ear telling him, ‘don’t you dare lock down, we can control this virus, we’re all getting on with our normal lives’.”
Throughout the pandemic, Piers has won praise for holding government ministers to account with their interviews, which resulted in a period where there were no appearances on Good Morning Britain from any MPs for more than 200 days.
While the divisive presenter has been one of the current government’s loudest critics of late, he did vote for Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election, saying he felt that the Conservatives were most likely to deliver on Brexit.
“I voted for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party,” he told LBC. “Not from any great love of either, but because, as I have made clear on Good Morning Britain for the last three years, I was incensed by the failure to honour the result of the referendum.
“I voted to Remain and I would vote to Remain again. I’m not a great fan of Brexit. However, I’m a much bigger fan of democracy. And to me, Boris Johnson was the only major party candidate who was offering to honour democracy and to respect the fact that 17.4 million people had voted to leave the European Union.”
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