By Mark T Connor • 24 June 2020 • 14:22
Piers Morgan said Alok Sharma was either being ‘stupid or a liar’ (Picture: BBC/ITV)
The Good Morning Britain host said Alok Sharma’s claim that 240,000 people had been tested on Monday was bogus, amid continuing concerns around the reliability of government statistics.
Mr Morgan accused the cabinet minister of either being ‘stupid or a liar.’ He said said: ‘Alok Sharma has literally just gone on the BBC and unchallenged has just claimed that 240,000 people got tested on Monday. That is a bare-faced lie. Which I would say to his face if we weren’t still subject to the 57-day Government boycott. This is why they don’t want to come on this programme.
‘It has nothing to do with the number of people being tested.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast earlier, Mr Sharma had said: ‘We had almost 240,000 people being tested on Monday. These are remarkable things that the NHS and those who work in it have done.’
There is a difference between the number of people ‘being tested’ and the number of tests ‘carried out’. At an earlier stage in the pandemic, Mr Sharma had wrongly claimed that the number of tests was available when it had in fact not been released for over a week.
On GMB this morning, Mr Morgan continued: ‘The fact is that a government minister doesn’t know that, or know it and is lying, it is one or the other. He is either stupid or is he is a liar. Which one is it? And why does it matter? Because testing is the absolutely crucial way out of this. Until we have a vaccine it is probably the only way out of this. ‘The Government are not telling people the truth about the testing. The whole system isn’t working, the whole thing is a farce.’ Co-host Susanna Reid added: ‘Unless he has proof… because then he would have the data that the health secretary Matt Hancock doesn’t have.’
Mr Sharma also said protections are in place for staff who feel unsafe while working under the new ‘one metre-plus’ restrictions when pubs and restaurants open again next month.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘If people are ignoring the rules and they are not keeping a workplace safe, then there are clearly measures that can be followed and it is possible for there to be enforcement notices, there are going to be checks that are carried out, spot checks by the Health and Safety Executive, which they are already doing. ‘And in the case where someone is not following an enforcement order and not fixing things in a workplace, then, for the most serious offences, people can go to prison for up to two years.’ He said there are ‘real powers and real teeth that are in place.’
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