Conservative MPs have been taking out their frustration on England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, for what they see as his promotion of “lockdown by stealth”. Chief among them is Joy Morrissey, who said Whitty should “defer” to politicians like her.
Matthew Weaver www.theguardian.com
In a now deleted tweet, Morrissey, who is on the government payroll as a parliamentary aide, said: “Perhaps the covid unelected public health spokesperson should defer to what our ELECTED members of parliament and the prime minister have decided. I know it’s difficult to remember but this is not how democracy works. This is not a public health socialist state.”
So who should the public trust on the pandemic – the chief medical officer or the MP for Beaconsfield? Their respective CVs may offer a clue.
Prof Chris Whitty CB FRCP FFPH FMedSci
Occupation: chief medical officer for England and practising NHS consultant physician.
Previous jobs: acting chief scientific adviser; director of research at the Department for International Development; chief scientific adviser to the Department of Health; head of the National Institute for Health Research Education; consultant physician at University College London hospitals; professor of public and international health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Education: doctorate in medical science from Oxford; two diplomas, in tropical medicine and hygiene, and economics; three master’s degrees, in epidemiology, medical law and business administration.
Awards: Companion of the Order of Bath; fellow of the Academy of Medical Science; honorary doctorate for medical work in the community from the University of Plymouth.
What people say about him: Prof David Mabey, an infectious disease specialist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says: “Chris is a polymath. He is really extraordinary. Since I’ve known him he’s done a diploma in economics, a degree in law and an MBA in his spare time. And in terms of his research, he covers all the disciplines: clinical medicine, epidemiology, health economics, social science. That’s really what makes him unique. He is the best man for the job, we are extremely lucky to have him.”
Joy Morrissey MP
Occupation: member of parliament for Beaconsfield and parliamentary private secretary to the justice secretary, Dominic Raab.
Previous jobs: Ealing councillor; actor including a role in a “bonkfest” TV movie called Geek Mythology, about a man who acquires a magical statue that makes him irresistible to women.
Education: master’s degree in European social policy from the London School of Economics.
Awards: shortlisted for the Conservative London mayoral candidacy in 2021 but beaten by Shaun Bailey.
What people say about her: The Financial Times said she was a “passionate Brexiteer motivated by social injustice”. Morrissey has said of herself: “I don’t really care that much what people think, particularly if I think I’m right.” Her campaign to offer all homes and businesses a portrait of the Queen was dismissed as “Stalinist”.