Menu
Thu, 2 February 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Health
Only Half of UK Health Boards are Catering for People with Functional Neurological Disorder Partner content
By FND Hope UK
Health
Health
We know prevention is better than the cure, and it could be the only way to save the NHS. Partner content
Health
2022: Catalysing the UK’s journey as an innovation nation Partner content
Environment
Press releases

Top government coronavirus scientist quits after he admits ‘undermining’ lockdown rules

Top government coronavirus scientist quits after he admits ‘undermining’ lockdown rules

The government had told couples living apart that they should not visit during lockdown

2 min read

One of the Government's leading coronavirus scientists has resigned after breaking lockdown rules.

Professor Neil Ferguson said he had stepped down from his role advising ministers on the coronavirus lockdown after "undermining the clear message" to stay at home.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Ferguson had allowed a woman to visit his home on two occasions - despite previously testing positive for the virus and spending two weeks in self-isolation.

The academic, who has made several media appearances defending the social distancing rules, had led the team of researchers at Imperial College London who predicted that failure to introduce the measures could have led to as many as 500,00 deaths in the country.

That modeling formed part of the advice which prompted Boris Johnson to introduce the strict lockdown last month, with ministers saying the rules would mean couples who lived in seperate couples should not travel to visit each other.

Announcing his resignation, Professor Ferguson said: "I accept I made an error of judgement and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage [the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies].

"I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms."

He added: "I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic.

"The Government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us."

It comes after Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, was forced to resign last month after receiving a warning from police for making two visits to her family's second home.

Responding to the reports, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told the paper: "Scientists like him have told us we should not be doing it, so surely in his case it is a case of we have been doing as he says and he has been doing as he wants."

"He has peculiarly breached his own guidelines and for an intelligent man I find that very hard to believe. It risks undermining the Government's lockdown message."

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by John Johnston - Top Stories: Sunak Under Pressure To Suspend Raab, Half Of Schools Impacted By Strikes

Categories

Coronavirus Health
Partner content
Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more