Cummings opens fire on ministers over pandemic

James Marshall
May 27, 2021

Cummings accused Johnson of being unfit for his role and said there had been tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the pandemic.

The prime minister's former top aide said he is "not surprised" by the current confusion over the government's traffic light travel system.

Also on Thursday, Johnson said he disagreed with his former aide Cummings' claim that tens of thousands of people died unnecessarily because of the government's inaction on Covid-19.

Ian Blackford said the Scottish Government's leadership of the crisis had been a stark contrast to that of Boris Johnson's government, citing examples such as Covid policies being leaked quietly to specific press, rather than the government being open with the public. "But of course, this has been an incredibly hard series of decisions, none of which we've taken lightly, and you've got to recognise, and I hope people do understand this, that when you go into a lockdown it's a very very painful, traumatic thing for people, for people's mental health, for their lives, their livelihoods, and of course you've got to set that against the horrors of the pandemic and of COVID".

"We absolutely reject Mr Cummings' claims about the Health Secretary", a spokesman for Mr Hancock said.

"Since last January I've attended this House over 60 times".

Hancock is due to face questioning from media at a news conference later today.

"Sometimes what we've had to say hasn't been easy".

"And also we've learned throughout".

'And it's sort of tragic in a way, that someone who wrote so often about running red teams and not trusting things and not digging into things, whilst I was running red teams about lots of other things in government at this time, I didn't do it on this.

"Beyond all this, what matters remains the same - getting vaccinated, getting tested, delivering for our country, overcoming this disease and saving lives, and that is what matters to the British people".

More than 127,000 people have died in the United Kingdom with 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic, according to the government's coronavirus dashboard.

He claimed the health secretary "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".

"It was criminal, disgraceful behaviour that caused serious harm".

One of the most damning allegations from Cummings was that Hancock's statement that the government had thrown a "protective ring around" care homes at the start of the pandemic was nonsense, and that instead people had been sent back from hospital who had contracted the coronavirus.

Asked about that, Johnson said: "Some of the commentary I've heard doesn't bear any relation to reality and what people want us to get on with is delivering the road map, and trying cautiously, to take our country forward through what has been one of the most hard periods that I think anybody can remember post war".

Dominic Cummings has shared an extraordinary photograph of a "Plan B" for lockdown scribbled on a Downing Street whiteboard, showing that officials and ministers asked themselves "Who do we not save?" as Covid-19 threatened to overwhelm the NHS.

But as to whether he misled No10 about it, as his predecessor Jeremy Hunt pointed out, Mr Cummings' allegations about lying yesterday are just that at this stage - unproven allegations.

"We were told explicitly people did not get the treatment they deserved, many people were left to die in horrific circumstances".

Unless that evidence emerges, the government is determined to refute them, trumpet the vaccination programme, and delay a fuller discussion of what went wrong into next year's public inquiry.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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