Covid: Matt Hancock to face questions after Dominic Cummings attack

Covid: Matt Hancock to face questions after Dominic Cummings attack

Covid: Matt Hancock to face questions after Dominic Cummings attack

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former top aide Dominic Cummings on Wednesday painted a damning picture of dysfunction, lies and indecision in the government's early handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cummings cast the state as woefully disorganised, dominated by "groupthink" and run by ministers such as Health Secretary Matt Hancock who, he said, should be sacked for lying to the public and the government.

Responding to the testimony, Downing Street said Johnson continues to have confidence in Hancock and does not believe the minister has been untruthful.

Such was Johnson's scepticism about Covid-19, he even told officials he was considering getting the government's chief medical advisor to inject him with the novel coronavirus to show the public it was not a big threat, Cummings said.

He is also expected to lead a coronavirus press conference later in the day.

Britain's top civil servant even suggested to Mr Johnson in mid-March previous year that he encourage "chickenpox" gatherings to spread infections and build immunity, according to Mr Cummings.

Dominic Cummings also apologised for his own role in government.

During the seven-hour appearance, Mr Cummings was particularly scathing about Mr Hancock, arguing that he "should have been fired for at least 15 to 20 things including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet Room and publicly". I told him, "we're f***ed, we're going to kill thousands of people".

"Now the government rhetoric was "we put a shield around care homes" and blah blah blah - it was complete nonsense".

He said Sedwill said Johnson should "go on tv and explain that it's like the old chicken pox parties".

"He described it as the new swine flu", Cummings claimed, blasting his former boss for taking a two-week vacation rather than "operating on a war footing" that month. I think this country is headed for disaster.

Speaking at a Politico Live event, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss defended Mr Hancock as "an excellent colleague who is doing a very good job in what has been a very tough global pandemic".

Cummings repeated an allegation, which Johnson has denied, that the prime minister late previous year said he would rather "let the bodies pile high" than impose a second lockdown.

During his evidence, Mr Cummings said security concerns around his London home had been an additional, previously undisclosed, factor in the decision.

Mr Johnson has denied making the comments.

'Fundamentally, there was no proper border policy because the Prime Minister never wanted a proper border policy, ' he told MPs, adding that Mr Johnson thought the travel industry would be destroyed if stricter measures were brought in.

"We have at every stage tried to minimize loss of life, to save lives, to protect the [health service] and we have followed the best scientific advice that we can".

He said "tens of thousands of people died who didn't need to die" in the pandemic and condemned the decision to delay the Covid public inquiry until spring 2022, arguing that the governmental system as a whole had failed the challenge of Covid.

Related news



[an error occurred while processing the directive]