Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has claimed that planning for a no-deal Brexit made the UK “more match fit” to handle the pandemic in his evidence at the UK Covid inquiry.
The Brexiteer said on Thursday that the work of civil service surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union “enhanced” the UK’s ability to respond.
He said: “The nature, the pace and the intensity of the work undoubtedly placed pressure on individuals and the system, but it also ensured a greater degree of match fitness for what none of us anticipated but what was to come the year after.
“I would argue that the skills acquired, honed and refined during EU exit preparation helped us not only to have an organisational system that was better in dealing with the crisis, but having a cadre of people who’d been through an intense process that enhanced their ability to respond.”
The Tory MP for Surrey Heath added: “Preparation for the EU exit was some of the best preparation we could have undergone for any future crisis.”
READ MORE: Michael Gove says Brexit planning made Britain better prepared for Covid
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Mr Gove worked as Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the outbreak of the pandemic and was the latest politician to give evidence to the UK’s public inquiry into the pandemic.
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His comments about Brexit contradict those of Scotland’s former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who claimed last month while giving evidence to the inquiry that “significant resources” were diverted from a “range of other matters” to focus on the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
She said: “I deeply regret any consequences that had for our emergency planning in other areas.”
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