Politics

Rishi Sunak starts make-or-break week with eight-hour Covid inquiry grilling


RISHI Sunak’s make-or-break week begins with an eight-hour grilling at the Covid inquiry today.

The under-fire PM will launch a fierce defence of his controversial Eat Out to Help Out scheme to back the hospitality sector during the pandemic.

The PM will  face a showdown over Eat Out to Help Out, which is said to have caused a spike in Covid cases in summer 2020

1

The PM will face a showdown over Eat Out to Help Out, which is said to have caused a spike in Covid cases in summer 2020Credit: Reuters

The all-day scrutiny comes as Tory rebels plot to derail Mr Sunak’s Rwanda legislation in the Commons tomorrow.

But before then he faces a testy showdown over Eat Out to Help Out, which is said to have caused a spike in Covid cases in summer 2020.

The PM will also face awkward questions over text messages that revealed government scientists referred to him as “Dr Death, the Chancellor”.

Cabinet ally Michael Gove defended Mr Sunak on Sunday, arguing the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was “effective”. But Professor Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, is said to have privately referred to the scheme as “eat out to help out the virus”.

Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser at the time, said he and Sir Chris could not recall being consulted in advance about the huge multi-million pound scheme.

Giving evidence to the ­public inquiry, Sir Patrick said the scheme was “highly likely” to have fuelled deaths. But Mr Gove, told Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips show: “It was an effective way of ensuring the hospitality industry was supported through a very difficult period.

“And it was entirely within the broad outlines of rules about social mixing that prevailed at the time.”

Mr Sunak may also face questions over his WhatsApp messages, or lack of them.

He has reportedly told the inquiry that “having changed my phone a number of times” he no longer has access.





READ SOURCE