Prue Leith says people 'too critical' of government response to Covid and she 'feels sorry' for PM

Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith believes the UK public is "too critical" of the government's response to the coronavirus crisis, she has told ITV News.

The British-South African restaurateur told the Acting Prime Minister podcast she feels "sorry for" Boris Johnson in having to contend with a pandemic when "nobody's ever done it before".

She accepted that the government has "got a lot wrong" in its response to Covid-19, with some rules "difficult to understand" but she said it seems "everybody wants to attack everything".

"It may seem very illogical that you're allowed to go to a pub, but you're not allowed to go to a family wedding or something," she added.

"But ultimately if there are enough restrictions to just prevent a huge second spike, we'll all be better off for it.

"So they have to do what they can, what they do may not be perfect, but nobody's ever done this before."

Prue on the latest coronavirus restrictions:

The Bake Off judge was critical of people spilling out of pubs on to streets at the 10pm kick-out, saying "it is a terribly selfish thing to do", but she acknowledged "they've recently come out of lockdown, of course they want to have a party".

She suggested having officials in pubs encouraging people to go home at closing time could be a solution.

"If you had publicans and social workers and other people willing to, just for a few weeks, be in those pubs at that closing time and try to make everybody understand that it is incredibly antisocial to go on drinking in groups," she said.

In a wide ranging interview, Prue also spoke about her political persuasion, how she wished she'd gone into politics herself and the laws she would change if she had the chance.

Prue on her campaign for legal assisted dying:

She explained how she was inspired to campaign for assisted dying to be made legal after watching her own brother fight an "unbelievably painful" bone cancer before he suffered a "horrible death". She questioned why critically ill people are forced to take their own life or travel to Switzerland if they want to die with "dignity".

"If you are terminally ill, you're in tremendous pain, you cannot get enough pain relief for your life to be bearable, and you just want to end it - and all your family agrees with you - why are you not allowed to get a bit of help to do it?" she asked.

She recalls moments her brother was in "utter agony, really crying, begging for relief" but doctors would not administer more morphine.

"He should have been allowed to die," she said, but the only options were to live through the pain until he eventually passed, for him to commit suicide or travel for an assisted death at Dignitas in Switzerland.

With doctors doing their best to keep her brother alive, he eventually stopped taking antibiotics and died of pneumonia.

More episodes of Acting Prime Minister:

Her brother's situation got so dire before his death that his daughter contemplated suffocating him, she said.

"She was sitting with him one day - he was sleeping and she had a pillow in her hands and she thought, 'I just should suffocate him, it would help him and it would help all of us'.

"She just sat there trying to get the courage up to kill her father, which she couldn't do. And she didn't do that but she wished she had - isn't that awful?"

Prue also said she'd promote cooking in schools if she were prime minister, to encourage children to grow up loving healthy food.

"If children don't learn to love healthy food, they will never eat it. They have to like it to eat it. And you get to like stuff when you're very young.

"So I would put an enormous amount of money and effort into training children to each well and some schools already do it."

Prue, whose son is Tory MP Danny Kruger, revealed that she's voted Liberal Democrats most of her life, but has also backed both the Tories and Labour, describing herself as the "classic floating voter".

Prue on filming the latest series of Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off star also revealed how the show's latest series was "filmed as normal", despite it taking place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Great British Bake Off is back on television screens. Credit: PA

The 80-year-old had thought filming amid ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions would be "dreadful" but "in fact it was terrific", she told the Acting Prime Minister podcast.

"It was like a Butlins holiday camp" spending seven weeks filming with Matt Lucas, Noel Fielding and Paul Hollywood, she said.

Prue told podcast host Paul Brand she felt "amazingly safe" during filming, despite the threat of Covid-19, because of "fantastic" precautions taken by the production team.

"You couldn't get in and you couldn't get out," she said, "there were 150 of us locked down in Essex and it was so safe - we were tested every day.

"So we just filmed it as normal and so when you see it there's nobody social distancing or wearing a mask or anything."