UK: Covid inquiry: 'Macho' culture and 'obvious sexism' in No10 'damaged Covid response', says Helen MacNamara

Article here. Excerpt:

'The senior civil servant who was the subject of Dominic Cummings’ “violent and misogynistic” messages has said Boris Johnson let the country down by not tackling the “toxic” culture he presided over.

Helen MacNamara, who was one of the country’s highest ranking female officials, told the UK Covid-19 Inquiry on Wednesday that sexism in No 10 damaged the response to the pandemic.

She also said Matt Hancock displayed “nuclear levels” of overconfidence and a questionable record on the truth while a key figure in the Covid response as health secretary.

She also expressed “profound regret” for being one of the many officials fined after lockdown-breaching parties but hit out at the culture that preceded the rule-breaking.

Ms MacNamara wrote in her evidence that the “very obvious sexist treatment” that women in No 10 and the Cabinet Office experienced hindered their work.

“The dominant culture was macho and heroic,” she wrote. “It was positively unhelpful when the country needed thoughtful and reflective decision-making.”

She told the west London hearing that areas of policy to suffer as a result of the macho culture were issues including domestic abuse, carers and childcare and abortions during the pandemic.'

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