Dominic Cummings has apologised to the families of COVID victims "who died unnecessarily" and said the government failed the public in the early days of the pandemic.
Boris Johnson’s former adviser kicked off a morning of questioning by MPs over the lessons learnt from the pandemic by saying the government did not do as much as it could in the early months of 2020.
Taking some of the blame himself, he said: "The truth is, senior minister, officials, advisers like me fell disastrously short of standards required by the public.
"When the public needed us the most, the government failed. I want to apologise to all those families who had people that died.
"I did think oh my god, is this what people have been warning about all this time?
"However, PHE, WHO, CDC, organisations across the western world were not ringing the alarm bells about it then.
"In retrospect, it’s completely obvious that many institutions failed."