Lib Dems blame Britain for EU’s vaccine disaster

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran suggested today that the European Commission’s failure to acquire an adequate supply of Covid-19 vaccines was because Britain chose not to sign up to the joint procurement scheme.

In June last year, Ms Moran wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock, calling on him to “put lives before ideology and join EU efforts to secure access to a coronavirus vaccine.”

The leader of her party, Ed Davey, followed up the call, insisting it was not the time for “silly Brexit games.”

As it turned out, Britain manufactured its own successful vaccine through a collaboration between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and secured orders early on for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Meanwhile, the European Commission dithered and delayed, and has come under fierce criticism from member states for failing to procure enough vaccines, leaving almost every member state in single figures for the percentage of its population that has received its first dose of a Covid-19 jab to date.

When pressed on BBC’s Politics Live on Thursday as to whether the Liberal Democrats would accept they got it wrong on joining the EU vaccine scheme, Ms Moran offered a semi-incomprehensible defence of her previous comments:

“If we were part of [the EU vaccine scheme], then actually maybe it wouldn’t have happened in the way that it did. Clearly we have an expertise in negotiating contracts so that would have been a good thing.”

The look on Nick Timothy’s face as Layla responds is how we at The Foxhole imagine the majority of the public will look when watching: puzzled.