Pandemic chaos and lies in United Kingdom government: Cummings key points

Ross Houston
May 27, 2021

The British government "disastrously" failed the public by mishandling the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former top adviser and Brexit architect Dominic Cummings told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson's government lacked plans, brains, urgency and leadership, the ex-aide said.

"We absolutely reject Mr Cummings' claims about the Health Secretary", Hancock's team said, according to the BBC.

Responding to the testimony, Downing Street said Johnson continues to have confidence in Hancock and does not believe the minister has been untruthful. "We have worked flat out to minimise loss of life, to protect the NHS, while they [the opposition] have flip-flopped from one position to another".

A former top aide to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is making bombshell claims about the government's coronavirus response - namely, the freaky degree to which Johnson downplayed Covid-19 in the early part of 2020.

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

Dominic Cummings also apologised for his own role in government.

The former Brexit campaigner used his lengthy evidence session to the health and science select committees on Wednesday to portray a government unprepared for the pandemic and slow to act when it hit.

Johnson has admitted that mistakes were made and that lessons need to be learned, but his ministers say they were working at pace in the biggest public health crisis in a century.

"The truth is that senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me, fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this", Cummings said.

Mr Johnson defended the Government's handling of Covid at Prime Minister's Questions, saying: "I don't think anybody could credibly accuse this Government of being complacent about the threat that this virus posed at any point".

His evidence before lawmakers gave an alarming insight into the heart of the British government as it grappled with the onset of what would become the most devastating public health crisis in a century.

His infection came just days after he imposed a nationwide lockdown, on March 23 - following a period where the administration's response "seemed like an out-of-control movie", Cummings testified.

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

On PPE provision, Mr Cummings described the situation as a "disaster" with "hospitals all over the country" running out of supplies, despite assurances from the health secretary that "everything is fine".

"His argument was "I should've been the mayor (in) "Jaws" and kept the beaches open" - that's what he said on many, many occasions", he said. He did not directly address many of Cummings's claims.

Mr Johnson has denied making the comments.

He added that "none of the decisions had been easy" but that his government had followed "the best scientific advice that we can".

Cummings, who left Johnson's government past year, apologised for his own failure to act earlier to prevent the more than 120,000 people in the United Kingdom who have died of the coronavirus, saying the government was "lions led by donkeys".

Cummings, who was forced out of Number 10 at the end of past year after an internal power struggle, said those on the front line of the pandemic were like "lions" being "led by donkeys".

Other reports by iNewsToday