Owen Jones sparks furious backlash after ‘odious’ attack on Rishi Sunak backfires

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In his opinion piece in The Guardian, Mr Jones wrote: “Beholden to the private sector, the chancellor fought an autumn lockdown and we’ve all paid the price.” He added: “Many ministers were responsible for Britain’s worst national crisis since the second world war, and Sunak was undoubtedly one of them.” The Guardian journalist blamed the Chancellor more than Boris Johnson for the “failure to keep Covid under control”.

He said the Government failed to act swiftly enough because of “Tory politicians, Sunak included, who resisted Covid measures and may have been a bigger factor in the government’s inept pandemic response” than Mr Johnson.

He added that a Sunday Times reported had suggested Mr Sunak “led the forces within the cabinet who opposed firm action” on coronavirus.

Mr Jones said the Sunday Times piece revealed how “scientists recommended a circuit-breaker lockdown in mid-September, Johnson was reluctantly minded to back them, but Sunak resisted on economic grounds and invited a minority group of scientists who are sceptical of lockdowns to speak to No 10”.

One Twitter user replied to Mr Jones’ opinion piece saying, ” If Sunak got scientists to advocate against a lockdown, Boris could have vetoed that.

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“His job is to do best for the economy.

“Boris’ job is to do it all together weighing risk and reward.

“So no I won’t blame Sunak.”

Many have praised the Chancellor for keeping the country open for as long as possible, especially those who own small private businesses such as pubs and restaurants.

One Twitter follower of the Guardian added to the fury and said: “Well, thanks for that Owen ‘I am pro Lockdown because I still get paid to work from my flat’ Jones.

“If we lockdown again, my job is finished.”

Another replied: “Ah hindsight is strong in this odious polemicist.”

With one more suggesting that “Labour are so scared of Rishi, anything to try to bring him down”.

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Mr Jones then went on to attacked Mr Sunak’s “failure to support raising the UK’s statutory sick pay, which is among the worst in Europe, has made it financially impossible for many to self-isolate, undoubtedly contributing to the spread of the virus”.

He added: “It gets worse, the lockdown suddenly imposed across large swathes of England under tier 4 restrictions have so far not been accompanied by the emergency support measures necessary to avoid further economic damage.”

Currently, the Chancellor has said the Job Retention Scheme, which was due to end in March, will be extended for another month until the end of April.

This means that 80 percent of employees’ wages who have been furloughed will be paid for by the Government.

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