Dominic Cummings saga: Will Boris Johnson resign? Will Matt Hancock resign?

Dominic Cummings statement 'difficult' for government says Rigby

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Former No 10 advisor Dominic Cummings has levelled a number of serious allegations against the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Few of Mr Johnson’s top circle were left unscathed in this afternoon’s committee hearing, where Mr Cummings gave evidence of the Government’s coronavirus response, including allegations stating Mr Hancock lied numerous times, the Prime Minister did not consider coronavirus to be a serious threat, and Mr Johnson regretted implementing the first lockdown.

Some 150,000 people have now died from coronavirus in the UK alone.

Mr Cummings, who left his advisor post in November, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been fired for “15 to 20 things” including “lying” to people “on multiple occasions”.

He also said the Prime Minister failed to chair early COBRA meetings regarding coronavirus, and many key members needed to formulate a response to the virus were “literally skiing in the middle of February” instead of preparing to operate the UK on “war footing”.

Explaining why Mr Johnson did not attend the COBRA meetings at the start of last year, he said: “The prime minister described it as the new swine flu, I certainly told him it wasn’t.

“The view from No 10 was if the PM chairs COBRA and says it’s just swine flu that would not help.”

He also alleges the Government admitted it would be killing thousands of people when it emerged there was no such plan for a crisis like coronavirus aside from the original pursuit of herd immunity.

He describes them as saying: “We’re going to have to ditch the whole plan and we’re heading for the biggest disaster this country has seen since 1940.

“I’ve been told for years that there’s a whole plan for this, (but) there is no plan, we’re in huge trouble.

“I think we’re absolutely f****d and we’re going to kill thousands of people.”

The allegations have caused a crisis for the Government, and one which is not likely to go away as easily as other Government crises.

Mr Cummings was asked if he was “hedging his bets” on a future role in a Conservative Government led by Rishi Sunak.

In response, Mr Cummings said: “I think everyone including my wife would agree the less people hear from me in the future the better”

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Will Boris Johnson resign? Will Matt Hancock resign?

Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock are yet to comment on the allegations made this afternoon.

A rebuttal from the Prime Minister is likely, but previous calls for Mr Johnson to resign or to sack any members of his top bench prior to this have fallen on deaf ears.

Patrick Flynn, Smarkets Political Analyst said: “The Prime Minister’s former adviser was back today answering questions on the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic at a parliamentary select committee, with his most explosive claims focused on the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“Cummings’ claims that Hancock ‘lied to everybody’ and that the prime minister almost sacked him have seen the Health Secretary’s chances of being the next cabinet member to leave surge to 32 percent, up from 19 percent just yesterday.

“However, as is often the case with stories like this, I would not expect any of Cummings’ allegations to be reported on for more than a day or two in our current news environment.

“This, paired with the majority of the public’s pre-existing distrust of Cummings, means that it’s unlikely to have an impact beyond the most highly engaged voters.”

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