Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'bamboozled' by science, COVID-19 inquiry told

LONDON (AP) — , the former British prime minister, struggled to come to grips with much of the science during the coronavirus pandemic, his chief scientific advisor said Monday.

In keenly awaited testimony to the country’s , Patrick Vallance said he and others faced repeated problems getting Johnson to understand the science and that he changed his mind on numerous occasions.

“I think I’m right in saying that the prime minister gave up science at 15," he said. “I think he’d be the first to admit it wasn’t his forte and that he struggled with the concepts and we did need to repeat them — often.”

Extracts from Vallace's mostly contemporaneous diary of the time were relayed to the inquiry. In them, he wrote that Johnson was often “bamboozled” by the graphs and data and that watching him “get his head round stats is awful."

During , Vallance was a highly visible presence in the U.K. He and the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, regularly flanked Johnson at the daily COVID-19 press briefings given from the prime minister's offices on Downing Street.