Sajid Javid today apologised for the government's Covid 'failures' and insisted 'lessons will be learned'.
The Health Secretary stressed he was 'sorry' for the losses and suffering - after a Cabinet colleague sparked anger earlier this week by refusing to apologise 11 times in an interview.
But speaking to broadcasters, Mr Javid also appeared to take a swipe at predecessor Matt Hancock by pointing out he personally was 'out of government when a lot of those crucial decisions were made'.
Mr Javid, who was axed as Chancellor in a reshuffle in January 2020 but brought back as Health Secretary when Mr Hancock quit over an affair with an aide in June this year, said: 'I was a humble backbencher.'
The first major probe into the Covid crisis was published on Tuesday, concluding that thousands of care home residents died needlessly in the pandemic, and that ministers were blinded by 'groupthink' among scientific advisers who wrongly wanted to manage the spread of the virus, rather than suppress it.
The dossier also claimed that No10's early decisions on lockdowns and social distancing rank as 'one of the most important public health failures the UK has ever experienced'.
Sajid Javid stressed he was 'sorry' for the losses and suffering - after a Cabinet colleague sparked anger earlier this week by refusing to apologise 11 times in an interview
Mr Javid also appeared to take a swipe at predecessor Matt Hancock (pictured) by pointing out he personally was 'out of government when a lot of those crucial decisions were made'
But Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay faced a backlash after refusing to apologise 11 times during an interview on Sky News on Tuesday.
The UK's first Covid inquiry was published this week by MPs from the health and science committees in the House of Commons.
It revealed a catalogue of failures right up to the top of Government, and sparked anger among families who lost loved ones. Pressure is building for an independent judge-led inquiry to begin as soon as possible.
Key findings included:Thousands of care home residents needlessly died during the pandemic, with the elderly treated as an 'afterthought'; The performance of the £37billion test and trace system was 'chaotic'; Early decisions on lockdowns and social distancing ranked as 'one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced'; Ministers were blinded by 'groupthink' among scientists, who wrongly wanted to manage the spread of the virus rather than suppress it; The UK's response was too 'narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model' that failed to learn lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola; This was a 'serious early error' when other countries were taking drastic action; The lack of a proper test and trace system early on meant a full lockdown was 'inevitable' and should have come sooner; Decision-making was dysfunctional with the exchange of important information between public bodies 'inadequate'; Death rates among black,