Leadsom savages demands for Hancock to resign over failure to meet COVID-19 testing target
The Department of Health and Social Care set itself a target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day before May. However, it looks unlikely the ambitious goal will be met, sparking calls for the resignation of the Health Secretary. But Ms Leadsom stated that Mr Hancock’s bold target galvanised his department rather than hindered it.
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The Conservative MP said: “I am not a fan of people resigning over things like this.
“I think what is really important here is, having run a department myself, the civil service is huge and it really responds well to a clear target.
“So, in setting out that target, what that did was galvanise the effort.”
Ms Leadsom went on to insist it was not right to call for the resignation of a minister because a target was not met, outlining the merits of setting goals within Government.
The former Leader of the House of Commons also listed the ways in which the UK’s testing capacity was being ramped up.
Defending the Government, she said: “We have seen just in recent days this enormous daily expansion.
“We have now got something like 40 drive-through testing sites.
“We have something like 20 mobile testing sites being run by the Army.
“We have got 25,000 home testing kits going out.
“So all of these things are the expansion that is a result of setting a clear target.
“Nobody has a crystal ball. I do not personally feel it is at all helpful to suggest you should lose somebody who is doing a great job because the target was not quite met.
“The key point is that the challenge was there and it has made the civil service focus on achieving that goal.”
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At the time of writing, Britain has the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world.
The UK has more than 161,000 cases in total.
The death toll in Britain is currently higher than 21,000 people.
A total of 585 people died as a result of coronavirus yesterday in the UK.
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