The UK scientist whose doomsday predictions triggered a massive lockdown on both sides of the Atlantic has resigned his government advisory position, amid claims he broke the strict lockdown rules he pushed to meet his married lover.
Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist of Imperial College, London resigned from his role as a senior scientific advisor to the British government Tuesday evening.
He became known as professor lockdown after his alarming data modelling predicted huge casualties for the populations of the United Kingdom and the United States unless they enacted severe curbs on individual freedoms to lock the nations down. While the moves were criticised by senior legal figures as approaching a police state, Professor Ferguson’s advice was nevertheless heeded by the government in March.
Delingpole: Why Must Coronavirus Decision Makers be Clouded in Secrecy? https://t.co/etEWwdqpBI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 23, 2020
While Professor Ferguson frequently appeared in the media to defend his work and to tell the public not to break the lockdown rules, he was himself spectacularly breaking them in secret, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which claims the hard-line scientist was meeting his married lover.
The paper names Antonia Staats, a married mother, who was quarantined with her family at a separate address to the professor. Breaching the terms of the lockdown — as enforced by police — she travelled to Ferguson’s own home on at least two occasions, the paper claims.
Staats, who is identified as a “left-wing activist”, was said to be in an “open marriage”, The Telegraph claimed. Posts on Staat’s public Facebook page show strong left-wing themes, including paid activism as an employee of a campaign group, encouraging tactical voting in the last general election to oppose the Conservative party, and hard green activism.
Admitting his error, Professor Ferguson told the paper:
“I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage [the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies].
“I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus, and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.
“I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic. The Government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us.”
The professor is not the first government scientific figure forced to resign after taking a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do posture to the general public. Breitbart London reported in April when the chief scientific advisor for Scotland resigned her position after ordering citizens to obey the lockdown measures while breaking them herself in public.
While Britons have been ordered to stay in their normal residences and not travel to their country homes in hope of enjoying a more comfortable and less cramped lockdown period, Dr Catherine Calderwood was photographed travelling to her country home. She received a police warning after being exposed in a national newspaper and resigned shortly afterwards.
Monica Lennon, health spokesman for Scottish Labour, remarked that Calderwood’s actions were “extremely disappointing and hypocritical”, and asked: “If the Chief Medical Officer can’t lead by example what chance do we have of convincing people to stay at home?”
In New Zealand, the government’s health minister was demoted after ignoring his own advice. Dr David Clark was photographed going for a country bike ride, and subsequently drove his family to the beach to go surfing. Reflecting on his breaking the advice of his own department, Dr Clark noted: “I’ve been an idiot”.