The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, faced a tough grilling during an interview in which he was shown a clip of Boris Johnson saying he had shaken hands with people at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan asked Mr Jenrick if the government took the crisis seriously, before showing footage of the prime minister saying he “shook hands with everybody” on the same day when the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advised against shaking hands.
Mr Jenrick replied: “It’s easy to show footage like that with the benefit of hindsight. Knowledge has evolved. Scientific opinion has changed.”
He also said the prime minister had approached the crisis “with huge seriousness," adding: “He is someone who himself came close to death as a result of the virus and that had a huge and lasting effect on him and his family, as you would expect.”
Mr Morgan then told Mr Jenrick "some of your colleagues... they're useless" and "completely out of their depth".
The Cabinet minister replied: "We are all working under immense strain, but that is no excuse, we all have to make sure that we are making the best possible decisions that we can with the information that is available to us."
Speaking a day after the UK passed the milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, Mr Jenrick apologised for the loss of lives, saying: “I am deeply, deeply sorry for every life that has been lost… I think we all know someone who has been seriously unwell or who had died because of the virus."