Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley: Does my noble friend agree that the determination of the opposition parties and much of the media to pin the blame for the high level of deaths in this country from Covid on the Government has obscured the fact that the major reason why we suffer from a high mortality rate, compared with other countries, is that we are fatter than other countries? Nearly two-thirds of adults in this country are overweight, and the number of obese people in this country is six times the proportion of obese people in Japan. Can we give those facts to people? They can then make their own decision on whether to take this risk or not.

    Lord Bethell: I thank my noble friend for his question. It is for others in the post-mortem process to pronounce on the exact cause of deaths during Covid, but it is an unavoidable fact that, of the 2.5 million Covid deaths reported by the end of February, 2.2 million were in countries where more than half of the population is classified as overweight; that includes Britain. This is a stark fact that, as my noble friend rightly points out, is sinking in among the British public. We want to use this fact as an inflection point—it is an opportunity —to give people the inspiration they need to take the necessary steps towards healthy and fit living.