Richard Madeley became embroiled in yet another clash with Dr Hilary Jones after branding the government’s science advisors “the Chuckle Brothers”.
This comes after the pair were at odds with one another yesterday after Dr Hilary suggested that the lifting of lockdown should be delayed for months – and perhaps until Christmas.
Richard joined Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain today, who turned to the doctor about the latest “grim” news about the coronavirus data.
“Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Valance – what did you call them Richard?” Susanna paused.
Richard exclaimed: “The Chuckle Brothers!”
Dr Hilary laughed awkwardly as Susanna continued: “They have given a very downbeat briefing suggesting that the latest data is fairly grim and that lifting the lockdown will be delayed now for a couple of weeks.”
Richard asked pointedly: “You’re going to agree, aren’t you?”
“I am,” Dr Hilary replied firmly. “I mean, we’re looking at rising cases, we’re looking at a population where – still – only 75% have had the first jab and just over half have had the second jabs. So a lot of people unprotected with a variant which is pretty nasty.
“So the idea of mass gatherings, the idea of people abandoning masks, hand sanitising and social distancing is crazy at a time when things are getting worse.”
Richard responded: “But we have government ministers who have said – repeatedly now after two weeks ago – that the vaccines have broken the link between Covid and hospitalisations and deaths. They’ve broken the link.”
“And that is why we need to be a little more patient, get everybody vaccinated and then we can start thinking about lifting restrictions,” Dr Hilary replied. “If we do it too early, there’s a risk of going where we were back before.”
The GMB host remarked that they have clashed about this issue yesterday, adding: “Because what people in your camp say Hilary, that that delay shouldn’t necessarily be a couple of weeks or even a couple of months, it might have to run up to Christmas. And I don’t think the public are going to wear that.”
Dr Hilary replied: “We’re asking people aged 29 to 25 now to come and get their vaccines by coming forward. So if we can accelerate that – as we’ve done so well already – then we’re nearly there by autumn. So we might have booster jabs by then.”
He went on to point out further good news about the vaccine – that only three out of 126 admitted to hospital had had had both jabs, explaining: “So we are breaking the link, but we’re not there yet.”
*Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV