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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 3:35 pm, 26th April 2021

Let me deal with this. I was in the meeting that afternoon, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers, as we looked at what was happening with the virus and with the pandemic, and we were—[Interruption.] We were dealing with one of the most serious decisions that this Prime Minister and any Government have had to face. People have been pointing out, quite rightly, that tens of thousands of people were dying. The Prime Minister made a decision in that meeting to trigger a second lockdown. He made a subsequent decision to trigger a third lockdown. This is a Prime Minister who was in hospital himself, in intensive care. The idea that he would say any such thing, I find incredible. I was in that room. I never heard language of that kind and I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman, by seeking to make the points in the way that he does, I think diverts attention from the fact that so many people who have been affected by this pandemic rely on the Government, the NHS and others to strain every sinew. These decisions are never easy, but the Government made the decision, and the Prime Minister made the decision, to have a second and third lockdown, and I think we can see the evidence of the leadership that he showed then, not just in the courage that he showed, but also in the success of the vaccination programme, from which people across this whole United Kingdom have benefited.