Dominic Cummings says Matt Hancock ‘should have been fired’
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Matt Hancock should have been “sacked for lying” for “at least 15, 20 things”, according to Dominic Cummings. Along with condemning Boris Johnson’s governance during Covid calling it a “scare story” and other ministers of incompetence, the Health Secretary is facing a barrage of damning accusations from the PM’s former chief adviser. Express.co.uk has compiled a list of the key claims made by Mr Cummings.
Pandemic preparedness plans
Mr Cummings claimed he sent Matt Hancock a text on January 25 about the coronavirus pandemic.
He claims to have asked what had been done to prepare for an outbreak, such as the Ebola crisis.
The former chief aide added he was told by the Health Secretary that they had full plans in place and were stress testing.
Mr Cummings told MPs he replied to this text with “great” and told Mr Hancock he was reading about how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were handling the virus.
The 49-year-old revealed he later learnt the plans were “completely hollow” and if he had taken a Saturday at the time to look at them in full, he would have realised that.
Mr Cummings said, however, the Government “didn’t figure this out until the back end of February”.
Jeremy Hunt asked Mr Cummings about a statement by Matt Hancock ruling out herd immunity.
He responded by saying the Health Secretary’s denials were “completely wrong”.
Mr Cummings said it is a “semantic question” about whether the goal was herd immunity rather than “is that the basic plan”.
He added: “Of course no one wanted this to happen… the point was herd immunity was regarded as an unavoidable fact”.
Mr Cummings said he is “completely baffled” why Downing Street has denied this.
He claimed you can see it was the plan in Sage documents and is what journalists were being briefed on.
Matt Hancock should have been fired
Mr Cummings said Mr Hancock should have been fired for many things during the pandemic “including lying to everybody on multiple occasions”.
He said the Cabinet Secretary also told Mr Johnson the Health Secretary should be fired.
Speaking about Mr Hancock’s performance, he said there were “many brilliant people at relatively junior and middle levels, who were terribly let down by senior leadership”.
Mr Cummings said the Health Secretary “should have been fired for at least 15, 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions…including publicly”.
Asked if he thinks people are at risk of corporate manslaughter charges, he said he does not know the law sufficiently well.
But added, “many senior people fell far, far, disastrously below the standard that the country has a right to expect”.
The former chief aide said the Cabinet Secretary and “many other senior people” told the Prime Minister “he should be fired”.
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Department of Health
Mr Hancock’s department also faced accusations of incompetence.
Mr Cummings said there were “lots of great people” in the Department of Health, but no systems in place to deal with “proper emergency procurement”.
He said officials in the department were turning down ventilators at a crucial time “because the price had been marked up” on the day the PM tested positive.
Mr Cummings added: “It completely beggars belief that sort of thing was happening”.
The Prime Minister’s former aide said: “The whole system was like wading through treacle on these things.
“That is why I described it as a smoking ruin”.
He said this is why the Cabinet Secretary and Secretary of State job had to be “divided up” because the department was “overwhelmed”.
Mr Cummings claims Matt Hancock said everyone who had needed treatment had received it in the summer.
But in fact, Mr Cummings claims this was a lie and Mr Hancock had been briefed otherwise before making this statement.
He said: “He knew that was a lie because he had been briefed by the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer about the first peak and we were told explicitly many people did not get the treatment they deserved.”
Mr Cummings also claims the Health Secretary told officials “everything is fine on PPE” in mid-April.
He added Mr Hancock said, “we have got it all covered”.
However, after Mr Cummings returned from being ill after contracting coronavirus, he was briefed about how they were running out of PPE.
Mr Hancock reportedly claimed blocked approvals were to blame, but when the Cabinet Secretary looked into it – he found it was untrue, according to Mr Cummings.
The former adviser claims the Cabinet Secretary then said: “I have lost confidence in the Secretary of State’s honesty in these meetings.”
Mr Cummings said he and Mr Johnson were briefed on this mistrust and he has notes to show this.
Test and Trace
Mr Cummings levied a damning accusation at Mr Hancock claiming the latter interfered with the Test and Trace system causing the pause in the system, between March and May.
He said the system needed building efficiently but progress was disrupted by the Health Secretary.
He said: “The logic was, if you’re going for the optimal single-peak strategy, you don’t take testing as an urgent priority.
“That’s why the Department of Health said we don’t need to test anyone anymore because we’re going for herd immunity by September.
“Sixty percent or 70 percent of the country are going to get it – so why would you even bother testing those possible?”
He added Mr Hancock made a claim to complete 100,000 tests a day by the end of April, which Mr Cummings said was disastrous and very stupid.
Mr Cummings said: “This was an incredibly stupid thing to do because we already had had that conversation internally.”
By taking it public, by making bold statements about completing 100,000 tests a day, Mr Cummings claims, this diverted people from taking a more long-term approach.
The former adviser said Mr Hancock’s interfering with Test and Trace meant he was getting involved with the system.
Mr Cummings said: “He should have been fired for that thing alone”.
He added: “It was criminal, disgraceful behaviour that caused serious harm.”
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