Professor Dame Jenny Harries, now the head of the UK Health Security Agency, explained that the policy wasn't based on scientific reality and had the effect of instilling a "false sense of security," convincing people that they would reduce their risk of becoming infected if they wore a mask.
She also told the inquiry that government advice on how to make a mask out of bits of cloth and old t-shirts was wholly "ineffective".
"There appeared to be a view permeating through, and a real concern and risk, that it was being conceived that if you did one metre (social distancing) and you wore a face covering slung round your cheek, or whatever it might be, that was fine," Harries noted.
She continued, "So, there was a risk that in encouraging face (masks) people would stop doing the thing that was really important, which was distancing and all the other things."
"What was being conceived was if you wear a face covering and reduce everything to a metre, the face covering will make up for the difference, and the answer was no, it won't, and it definitely won't if it's ever not evidence based," Harries added.
The BBC was broadcasting the testimony, but decided to "break away" when Harries started to explain how the use of masks was not evidence based and instilled a false sense of security among people wearing them.
In 2020 when it was all kicking off, Harries advised people not to panic buy and wear face masks saying that "it's usually quite a bad idea" to wear a mask if you haven't been expressly advised to do so by a medical professional.
She also told the BBC that masks could potentially "trap the virus" and help it spread.
Studies have proven that she was right all along:
Study Finds "No Evidence" Face Masks Protect Vulnerable Against COVID
Government Advisor Admits Masks Are Just "Comfort Blankets" That Do Virtually Nothing
Comment: There's many more: More than 150 comparative studies and articles on mask ineffectiveness and harms
Never forget that if you questioned the masks at the time you were ostracised and banned from engaging in society.