PM called Matt Hancock 'hopeless', says ex-advisor Cummings
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly blasted health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock as "hopeless" during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, former government advisor Dominic Cummings has claimed.
Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street following a power struggle last year, had already taken a sideswipe at the Conservative cabinet minister, claiming Mr Hancock should have been fired for several things - including lying to the public and in meetings.
Now Mr Cummings has published a screenshot apparently showing a WhatsApp exchange between himself and Mr Johnson.
On March 3 last year, the controversial former aide highlighted the US’s ramping up of testing capacity and criticised Mr Hancock for saying he was “sceptical” about meeting a target.
Mr Johnson purportedly responded: “Totally f****** hopeless.”
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In a blog post exceeding 7,000 words, Mr Cummings also published another private message about the struggles to procure ventilators for Covid-19 patients.
“It’s Hancock. He has been hopeless,” a contact appearing to be Mr Johnson replied on March 27 last year.
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In another message, on April 27 last year, the prime minister appeared to call the situation around personal protective equipment (PPE) “a disaster” and alluded to diverting some responsibilities to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
“I can’t think of anything except taking Hancock off and putting Gove on,” Mr Johnson apparently added.
The messages are Mr Cummings’s first attempt to publish supporting evidence since his select committee appearance where he accused Mr Hancock of lying.
Mr Hancock has denied the Brexit campaigner’s allegations and said last week it was “telling” that he was yet to provide the joint Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee with written evidence.