UK Covid inquiry: ‘Johnson government more like an opposition’ – Mark Sedwill
Sedwill has told the inquiry the “candour” of cabinet discussions was “constrained” by Boris Johnson setting out firm views at the beginning of meetings.
He quit the cabinet in June 2020 after reports of a rift with Johnson’s team. He later criticised “damaging” anonymous attacks on officials.
Part of his role was to advise former PM Boris Johnson on implementing policy and government conduct.
Last week, Dominic Cummings said Sedwill’s exit “set off a kind of bomb across the whole system.”
The inquiry lawyer, Hugo Keith, asks Sedwill if Boris Johnson’s government was experienced when it took office in 2019.
He says there were some experienced ministers, naming Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, and Matt Hancock, the former health secretary.
But he describes the government as “more like an opposition party coming into power after a general election” because of “the nature of the Brexit process”.
He said there was a “change of personalities” when Johnson became PM.
The UK inquiry is currently looking at the Covid-19 decision-making. The purpose of the inquiry is to learn lessons so the country can be better prepared for the next health crisis.