Daily Mail

IDS: What do ministers really think of Wuhan lab leak theory?

- By Martin Beckford Policy Editor

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith last night demanded ministers reveal how seriously they take the theory that Covid started in a Wuhan lab.

Three years on, serving members of the Government have still not made their views public on the origins of the pandemic.

They have kept their silence despite a growing belief the deadly virus emerged from a Chinese biological research facility.

Just last week the head of America’s FBI said a ‘potential lab incident’ was most likely to blame.

And yesterday Sir Iain, co-chairman of the Inter- Parliament­ary Alliance on China, raised the

‘All possibilit­ies remain on the table’

controvers­y in Parliament. He asked Commons leader Penny mordaunt: ‘Although the Government did not announce it at the Despatch Box, we now understand, finally, that their position on the lab leaks and on China’s involvemen­t is that the location of the outbreak was “coincident­al”.

‘That policy has never been stated publicly, so will she make time for a Government statement, or preferably a debate, on whether the Government believe that China poses a threat and that the leaks from the labs may well have been the reason why millions died?’

ms mordaunt replied: ‘I know that many… on both sides of the House want answers to these important questions, which have huge implicatio­ns for our national security.

‘I will certainly take up his question with the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.’ It emerged earlier this week that former health secretary matt Hancock’s concerns about a possible lab leak were censored.

He had said in his book it was ‘too much of a coincidenc­e’ to believe Covid started in a market close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He said the British would have been ‘laughed out of town’ had they made similar claims about a disease emerging close to a top-secret lab here.

But he was told to remove the sections from his Pandemic Diaries by civil servants, who said: ‘This is highly sensitive and would cause problems if released.’

Asked what the Government’s position was on the theory, the Pm’s spokesman said: ‘The UK wants to see a robust, transparen­t and science-led review, and believes all possibilit­ies remain on the table until that is carried out.’

A criticised World Health organisati­on investigat­ion carried out with China in 2021 said the lab leak theory was ‘extremely unlikely’.

The WHO insists it has not abandoned plans to find the origins of the pandemic.

 ?? ?? Controvers­y: A Wuhan lab worker
Controvers­y: A Wuhan lab worker

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