The leaking of lockdown plans hustled the government into an unnecessary, premature, and ill-informed decision, former Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith told MPs ahead of a vote on the measures.
Smith said he will not vote for the measures, saying that evidence showed the spread of the CCP virus was already slowing and that the current local lockdowns had not been fully assessed.
He described as “appalling” the leak which set the government scrambling over the weekend into an early announcement of the nascent plans.
“Whoever did it should be sacked, strung up to dry,” he said.
The leak had “bounced” the government into a decision, he said. “I’d like to think that the Government would have then spent its time investigating the data that was being presented to them that has now subsequently unravelled in the last few days.”
The government and its scientific advisors have been under fire in recent days for one particular chart in which already-outdated modelling claimed there could be 4,000 deaths a day.
This controversy was picked up by former prime Theresa May who accused the Government of choosing statistics to back up their plans, calling for them to publish the analysis that is driving the lockdown decision.
“It appears the decision to go towards this lockdown was partly, mainly, to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day,” May told the Commons.
“Yet if you look at the trajectory showing in that graph that went to 4,000 deaths a day, we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October,” she told MPs.
The average daily deaths in the last week of October was instead 259, she said.
“The prediction was wrong before it was even used,” said May. “For many people it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy rather than the policy being based on the figures,” she added.
The former prime minister said she did not envy the decisions facing the government.
She also said that evidence showed that cases of CCP virus were falling across all ages in some areas of local lockdown, saying that there hadn’t been enough analysis of the effectiveness of current three-tier measures.
She said that there also had not been enough analysis of the broader costs of lockdown measures, such impact on other health conditions, suicides, mental health, domestic violence as well as to the economy.
“The government must have made this analysis. They must have made this assessment. Let us see it and make our own judgements.”
Some Conservative MPs have indicated they will oppose the new measures in the vote. But with the Labour Party saying it will vote through the measures, they are all-but-guaranteed to be approved by lawmakers, and swing into force from tonight after midnight.
The new measures restrict all but essential shopping in England, ban social mixing with more than one person from another household even outdoors, and will shut down pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and gyms. Schools and Colleges will remain open.