TENS of thousands of people died unnecessarily because of the Government’s failings over coronavirus and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ‘unfit for the job’, Dominic Cummings has claimed.
The polarising former Downing Street Svengali launched a blistering takedown of his former ally and claimed Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been sacked ’15 to 20 times’ for his handling of the pandemic.
In response to his claims, Evesham’s and Pershore’s MPs defended the Government and repeated calls for its actions to be the subject of a public inquiry next year.
Cummings, who left Downing Street in November 2020 in a row with Mr Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds, told MPs the Prime Minister initially dismissed Covid as a ‘scare story’ and offered to be injected with it live on TV to ‘show it was nothing to be scared of’.
Among Mr Cummings’s allegations was there was ‘no sense of urgency’ about the pandemic until the last week of February, despite the first cases being declared in the country on January 29.
As well as claiming a number of senior people ‘were literally skiing’ in mid-February, Mr Cummings alleged ‘senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me fell disastrously short of what the public expects during a crisis like this’.
The controversial figure eviscerated Mr Hancock and accused him of lying to the cabinet in what amounted to ‘criminal, disgraceful behaviour’. Mr Hancock denied the allegation in Parliament yesterday (Thursday).
Among his barbs levelled at Mr Hancock was patients with Covid were allowed to return to care homes where it ‘spread like wildfire’ according to Mr Cummings.
Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston, who serves as sports minister in the Government, said: “I know the public inquiry will provide the opportunity to fully scrutinise the decisions made by the government in this period.
“In the meantime, I know the government made decisions based on the science and data they had at the time and did their utmost to save lives, livelihoods and protect the NHS. None of the decisions to lockdown were taken lightly and many of the decisions made were far from easy or straightforward.
“There will be an opportunity to look back at the handling of the pandemic, but at the moment I believe efforts should be focussed towards vaccinating the entire adult population and rolling back restrictions.”
Mr Cummings revised his story about driving 260 miles during the first national lockdown from London to the North East, from needing childcare to security concerns.
In response to the allegations, Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin savaged Mr Cummings over his behaviour in the spring of last year
“My constituents were angry about the behaviour of Mr Cummings during the lockdown. More of them wrote to me to express their disgust with him than on any other issue since I became an MP,” she said.
“I’m on the record disagreeing with the behaviour of the Prime Minister’s adviser this time last year and calling for him to leave Government.
“I support the decision to hold a formal inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic as hindsight can help inform future actions.”