We WILL look into theory that Covid started in a Wuhan lab, Downing Street pledges
- Cabinet Office previously claimed it ‘coincidental’ virus emerged so close to lab
- Ministers would support lab theory if evidence presented by WHO, sources said
- READ MORE: Bombshell report: Was Covid caused by a lab leak after all?
Downing Street has finally agreed to consider the theory that Covid started in a Wuhan lab, it has emerged.
The Cabinet Office had previously claimed that it was ‘entirely coincidental’ that the virus emerged so close to a Chinese biological research facility.
But Whitehall sources said ministers would support the lab theory if evidence is presented by the World Health Organisation (WHO), while No 10 has reportedly said it is willing to consider the idea.
A spokesman for Rishi Sunak told The Daily Telegraph that there were ‘still questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of Covid-19’.
They added: ‘The UK wants to see a robust, transparent and science-led review and believes all possibilities remain on the table until that is concluded.’
But Whitehall sources said ministers would support the lab theory if evidence is presented by the World Health Organisation (WHO), while No 10 has reportedly said it is willing to consider the idea (pictured: a Chinese virologist in Wuhan lab)
It comes after former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith yesterday demanded ministers reveal how seriously they were taking the theory.
In Parliament, Sir Iain, co-chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, 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 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 diary it was ‘too much of a coincidence’ to believe Covid started in a market close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – adding that 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 much-criticised WHO probe carried out with China in 2021 said the lab leak theory was ‘extremely unlikely’.
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