It is the second time this year social media footage has emerged of Professor Whitty being harassed by members of the public.


Professor Chris Whitty: Video of ‘thugs’ harassing England’s chief medical officer condemned by Boris Johnson


Professor Chris Whitty: Video of ‘thugs’ harassing England’s chief medical officer condemned by Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has condemned the “despicable harassment” of Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, after footage emerged of him being manhandled by two men in the street.

A video, which appeared on Twitter, shows Prof Whitty struggling to free himself from the men’s grasp as they cling on to him, laughing and posing for the camera.

The prime minister led government ministers in criticising the “intimidation” of Prof Whitty as police continue to investigate the incident.In the footage, Prof Whitty manages to walk a few steps away, but the men hold onto him again as he crosses a road.

Eventually, a voice – thought to be from a passer-by – can be heard telling the men to “leave this gentleman alone”.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

“I condemn the behaviour of these thugs.

“Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it.”

Sajid Javid, the newly-appointed health secretary, also condemned the “appalling and totally unacceptable” incident.

“The CMO works tirelessly on behalf of the country,” he tweeted.

“We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour towards our public servants. The men behaving in this disgraceful way should be ashamed.”

Schools minister Nick Gibb told Sky News he hoped the “whole weight of the law will come down on people that engage in that kind of behaviour”.

Asked if Prof Whitty should be afforded protection officers, Mr Gibb said it was a “matter for the security services and for Chris Whitty”.

“Those scenes should never have occurred in our society – absolutely wrong,” he added.

“People, whatever role they have in government, should be able to walk along the street, walk through the park unaccosted by that kind of behaviour.

“It should not happen in a free, law-abiding society like ours.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “important that we make sure that Chris is given the right kind of support” when asked if Prof Whitty needed security measures.

“It’s terrible to see such an important public figure, someone that day in, day out, has been serving our country in the way in which he has to keep us safe, being subject to just appalling abuse,” she told Times Radio.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi posted on Twitter: “This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged. Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “We’re aware of a video being shared online showing an incident in St James’s Park.

“Officers spoke to all those involved at the time and their details were taken.

“We are in contact with the victim and the circumstances continue to be investigated.”

It is the second time this year Prof Whitty has been harassed on camera.

In early February he was queuing at a food stall in London when a youth approached him and said: “Liar. You’re a liar. Mandem, he’s a liar… You’re a liar. You lie about the COVID-19 cases. Stop lying to the TV, man.”

The scientist did not react and later told a Downing Street briefing that the “odd young lad” was “showing off”.

He said he “didn’t think anything of it, frankly”, adding: “I’m sure he’ll become a model citizen in due course and hopefully more like Captain Tom, who is the kind of person who I think much more exemplifies the spirit of the UK.”

Prof Whitty, a physician and epidemiologist, has played a key role in the response to the COVID pandemic in the UK, acting as chief medical adviser to the prime minister and his team and often appearing at government news conferences.

He replaced Dame Sally Davies in the role in late 2019, just months before coronavirus first emerged in China.

Prof Whitty was previously chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health and worked on the Ebola outbreak of 2014. SKY News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





related stories


error: Content is protected !!