Boris Johnson brands Matt Hancock hopeless in texts revealed by Dominic Cummings

Boris Johnson brands Matt Hancock hopeless in texts revealed by Dominic Cummings

Boris Johnson brands Matt Hancock hopeless in texts revealed by Dominic Cummings

In a WhatsApp message on April 27, Johnson apparently said the government's approach to protective equipment for health workers had been a "disaster" under Hancock and suggested that Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove should take responsibility instead.

"If No 10 is prepared to lie so deeply and widely about such vital issues of life and death past year, it can not be trusted now either on covid or any other crucial issue of war and peace".

Mr Cummings has now hit back with a 7,000 word blog post, in which he says Mr Hancock's version of events is "fiction".

Amid his more than 7,000 words, Mr Cummings also included a series of screenshots from what he said were his WhatsApp exchanges while working in Downing Street during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic past year.

They include one Whatsapp exchange which appears to have taken place on 27 March a year ago, during which Mr Cummings expressed concern over the speed that the United Kingdom was scaling up its testing capacity.

Cummings, who had a front-row seat for much of the pandemic decision-making before leaving government late previous year, told a parliamentary committee last month that Hancock was "disastrously incompetent" and should have been fired for "15 to 20 things".

In a series of posts that Cummings shared on Twitter and his blog, he and Johnson purportedly had several discussions about what they could do to stop the spread of coronavirus in the United Kingdom with Cummings being particularly critical of Hancock, a sentiment apparently echoed by Johnson.

In response, Mr Johnson appears to have replied: "Totally f-- useless".

In a separate message, the prime minister appeared to call the situation around personal protective equipment (PPE) "a disaster" and alluded to diverting some responsibilities to United Kingdom cabinet office minister Michael Gove.

Screenshot of What'sApp mesageas
Boris Johnson brands Matt Hancock hopeless in texts revealed by Dominic Cummings

When asked whether he was hopeless by reporters today, Hancock said "I don't think so".

The messages are Mr Cummings's first attempt to publish supporting evidence since his select committee appearance where he accused the Health Secretary of lying, failing on care homes and "criminal, disgraceful behaviour" on testing.

In his blog, Mr Cummings accuses the health secretary of trying to blame NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Cabinet Office for last April's "PPE disaster".

This included asking why the prime minister kept Mr Hancock in post "given his failures on testing, care homes and PPE" and "how many more people died as a result of your failure to remove him?".

Johnson did not respond to a question on the posts from an MP at Prime Minister's Questions in parliament Wednesday.

Cummings also claimed that Johnson had a "clear plan to leave" after the next election because he "wants to make money and have fun".

But with the Conservatives riding high in the opinion polls, there is no incentive for the party's MPs to move against Mr Johnson, despite the "systemic incompetence" surrounding him, he adds.

In the wake of the blog post, Mr Hancock was asked by a reporter whether he was hopeless while in the back of a ministerial vehicle.

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