Patrick Vallance, Britain’s former chief science adviser, has revealed that Boris Johnson struggled to understand much of the science during the coronavirus pandemic. In public testimony at an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, Vallance said he and others faced ongoing problems getting Johnson to understand the science. “I think I’m right when I say that the Prime Minister left science at the age of 15,” he said. “I think he would be the first to admit that it’s not his strong point and he struggled with the concepts and we had to repeat them – often.”
Vallance said that Johnson was often “confused” by graphs and data, making it difficult for him to grasp the severity of the situation. However, Vallance also emphasized that Johnson’s struggles were not unique, with many leaders across Europe having trouble understanding scientific evidence and advice during the early stages of the pandemic.
The UK has one of the highest death tolls from COVID-19 in Europe, with over 230,000 people recorded as having died from the virus. Boris Johnson, who resigned as prime minister in September 2021 after revelations about parties breaking rules at his Downing Street residence during lockdown, is set to appear before a public inquiry into his actions later this year. The investigation is being led by retired judge Heather Hallett and is expected to last three years.