Hancock: 'It took time to build the testing' for care homes

Hancock: 'It took time to build the testing' for care homes

Hancock: 'It took time to build the testing' for care homes

The former chief aide said Boris Johnson had initially dismissed Covid as a "scare story" and the United Kingdom had been too slow to lock down.

Mr Johnson brushed aside the criticism, saying "some of the commentary I have heard doesn't bear any relation to reality".

Mr Cummings - whose key role in the campaign to take Britain out of the European Union helped propel Brexit-backer Mr Johnson into the prime minister's post - said his former boss was "unfit for the job".

"At every stage, we've been governed by a determination to protect life, to save life".

His claims about the prime minister and health secretary Matt Hancock rocked Westminster and tore a hole in the once seemingly close relationship between Cummings and Johnson.

In testimony to lawmakers on Wednesday, Cummings accused Hancock of lying to the public and said he "should have been fired" for mistakes including testing failures that saw patients with the virus discharged from hospitals to nursing homes.

"We worked as hard as we could to protect people who live in care homes", he said at a news conference.

Boris Johnson's former chief adviser gave evidence about the pandemic to MPs on Wednesday during a marathon seven-hour session.

"I don't see anything now in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the roadmap".

Speaking about current plans to remove lockdown restrictions on June 21 - a fourth and final step on the government's roadmap out of lockdown - Johnson said that cases of the virus were increasing, including those of a variant first identified in India.

The prime minister told reporters: "As I have said many times I don't see anything now in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the road map".

"Don't forget the important point about the intervals between the steps of the road map, we put that five weeks between those steps to give us time to see what effect the unlockings are having".

During a seven hour testimony to parliament Cummings made a series of allegations over Johnson's handling of the pandemic and said the prime minister had been unfit to lead the country.

Downing Street denied Mr Johnson was "obsessed with the media", as claimed by Mr Cummings.

Families of those lost to the health crisis said that hearing the admissions from Cummings was traumatic, while the opposition Labour Party once again called for an immediate public inquiry into the government's handling of the crisis that led to more than 128,000 deaths on British soil.

"I was very concerned about the repeated mistakes from the first wave into the second wave, and in particular the slowness to lock down in the autumn, and I think the Prime Minister got that completely wrong".

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