A GLOBAL health expert has said Rishi Sunak handled the Covid pandemic “badly”, citing the “bubble of extreme wealth” in which he lives.

Professor Devi Sridhar, a chair in global public health at Edinburgh University, suggested Sunak excluded views from scientists during the Covid emergency unless they supported what he wanted.

Sunak, a relative unknown in Westminster politics before 2020, shot to fame after being made chancellor following the resignation of Sajid Javid after a row with Dominic Cummings.

As chancellor, he became the face of the UK Government’s furlough scheme as well as the ill-fated Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which Boris Johnson admitted may have boosted Covid rates.

READ MORE: Five of Rishi Sunak's worst moments as he prepares to be Prime Minister

Sridhar (below), a key adviser to the Scottish Government during the pandemic, wrote on Twitter: “From a public health perspective, Rishi Sunak handled Covid badly.

“Before vaccine rollout, he invited a handful of scientists to ‘advise’ (support his view) on ‘shielding the vulnerable’ and letting it rip through rest of population. Of course livelihoods matter but so does life.

“I think if you’re in a bubble of extreme wealth (£730 million), it’s hard to relate to challenges of daily life incl access to healthcare. He knows his loved ones and him would always have access to best medical care. What about rest of population dependent on NHS/public services?

The National: Devi Sridhar. Picture: Gordon Terris

“Growth requires a healthy workforce but economic inactivity due to long-term illness is a huge problem in UK. People waiting on knee operations, cancer treatment, help with chronic pain or suffering from long Covid. Cutting NHS further makes no sense.”

Sridhar’s intervention comes as Sunak looks set to be crowned the next prime minister, despite concerns that he may be too rich to hold the office.

He has won the public support of more than half of the MPs in the Tory Party, and will enter No 10 unless Penny Mordaunt can win 100 backers. She is currently on around 30, but her team have publicly insisted the actual number is above 90.

Sunak failed to win the first Tory leadership race of 2022, coming in second to Liz Truss after a contest which spanned three months.

During that contest, Sunak claimed that scientists were given too much influence over decisions on coronavirus lockdowns.

He said “we shouldn’t have empowered scientists in the way we did” and added he had been left “furious” during a meeting because colleagues were refusing to acknowledge the wider impact lockdowns were having.

Sunak is considered the richest MP in parliament, with a combined net worth with his wife Akshata Murthy of an estimated £730m. 

Murthy is the daughter of NR Narayana Murthy, the billionaire owner of the Indian multi-national Infosys.

She and Sunak came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after revelations that she was avoiding paying the full extent of UK tax on her wealth