Leading scientist attacks prime minister as criticism mounts of government approach to science during the crisis

Rishi Sunak is facing a barrage of criticism in the run-up to the official Covid-19 inquiry as a leading scientist attacks his “spectacularly stupid” eat out to help out scheme, which is believed to have caused a sudden rise in cases of the virus.

The prime minister’s role as chancellor during the pandemic is under increasing scrutiny – as is that of his predecessor at No 10, Boris Johnson – in an escalating Covid blame game at Westminster as Lady Hallett prepares to open her investigation into the government’s pandemic response later this month.