Defending the Controversial Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to face an eight-hour grilling at the Covid inquiry today, where he will fiercely defend his Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The scheme, which aimed to support the hospitality sector during the pandemic, has faced criticism for allegedly causing a spike in Covid cases during the summer of 2020.
Tory Rebels Plot to Derail Rwanda Legislation
Amid the scrutiny, rebel members of the Conservative Party are planning to derail Mr. Sunak's Rwanda legislation in the Commons tomorrow.
Awkward Questions over Text Messages
The Prime Minister will also face questions regarding text messages that revealed government scientists referred to him as "Dr Death, the Chancellor." Cabinet ally Michael Gove has defended Sunak, arguing that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was "effective." However, England's chief medical officer, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, privately referred to the scheme as "eat out to help out the virus."
Discrepancies in Consultation
Sir Patrick Vallance, the former chief scientific adviser, stated that he and Sir Chris could not recall being consulted in advance about the scheme, which raised concerns about its impact on Covid cases and deaths. Giving evidence to the inquiry, Sir Patrick suggested that the scheme was "highly likely" to have fueled deaths. However, Mr. Gove argued that the scheme was in line with the prevailing rules on social mixing at the time.
WhatsApp Messages in Question
Additionally, Mr. Sunak may face questions about his WhatsApp messages, or lack thereof. He reportedly informed the inquiry that he no longer has access to his previous messages due to changing his phone multiple times.