David Cameron has admitted his government made a mistake in planning for future pandemics during his time in office.
The previous prime minister, who remained in Number 10 from 2010 to 2016, informed a committee hearing that the 2013 Ebola break out in west Africa had actually focused minds on the danger posed by pandemics.
However he acknowledged: “The error that was made was that, in thinking about future pandemics, the focus was very much on influenza instead of on respiratory illness.
” And I make certain there will be a huge questions into what we found out and all the rest, however I believe there was a respectable influenza pandemic plan, however it was a flu plan rather than a breathing illness prepare.
” … More must have been learnt from the experience with SARS and respiratory illness in terms of our own preparedness.”
Mr Cameron was speaking to MPs and Lords on the National Security Technique Committee.
He told them that the COVID-19 pandemic was the “biggest problem” faced by a government in the last 50 years, with Boris Johnson likewise needing to compete with sorting out a Brexit trade deal with the EU.
” All the previous prime ministers – we talk to each other from time to time – we had actually all state we had tough choices to make and challenging circumstances to face however nothing like this – this has been the best difficulty a government has actually had to face for 40 or 50 years,” Mr Cameron said.
” So to be fair to the federal government, they have had these twin obstacles to deal with.”
Mr Cameron likewise criticised Theresa May and Mr Johnson, his successors in Downing Street.
He said Mrs May, who prospered him in the after-effects of the 2016 EU referendum, made a “very bad mistake” in allowing the functions of cabinet secretary and nationwide security adviser to be combined.
” They are two tasks,” Mr Cameron said.
” For someone, even if you were a cross of Einstein, Wittgenstein and Mother Teresa, you couldn’t possibly do both tasks, and I believe that momentarily deteriorated the National Security Council.”
He said Mr Johnson’s choice to scrap the Department for International Development (DfID) was an error “for all sorts of factors” and it would be “quite a job” for the foreign secretary to keep across both the diplomatic and help briefs.
Mr Cameron also defended his charming of China during his time as prime minister.
“My view has actually constantly been that if you want to have a discussion and conversation with China on human rights, then in fact driving that economic collaboration deepens the discussion instead of threatens it,” he said.
He eliminated the possibility of a political resurgence and stated he did not miss Prime Minister’s Questions.
“I certainly do not miss Wednesday at 12 o’clock – it is a bit different now from what I can see,” Mr Cameron said.