‘Totally f—ing hopeless:’ Dominic Cummings leaks Boris Johnson’s bombshell text messagesJune 16, 2021
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London: Dominic Cummings has leaked Boris Johnson’s private WhatsApp messages in a sensational escalation of the former adviser’s feud with the British Prime Minister.
The messages show Johnson slamming his health secretary Matt Hancock as “totally f—ing hopeless” for failing to meet testing targets as Britain struggled to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has contributed to the deaths of nearly 128,000 people in the United Kingdom.
Dominic Cummings has created a firestorm with his account of the Johnson government’s handling of the outbreak.Credit:AP
According to screenshots posted by Cummings, criticisms were contained in text messages dated March 27 last year, when the UK was in a tight race with nations around the world to stockpile ventilators and PPE.
In one message, Cummings complains: “they’ve totally f—ed up ventilators. I just hear officials admit we have been turning down ventilator offers because ‘the price has been marked up.’”
Johnson responds: “It’s Hancock. He has been hopeless.”
Later, after midnight and just minutes before the Prime Minister tested positive for COVID-19 Cummings complains that the UK has failed to ramp up its testing capacity like the United States and complains Hancock conceding scepticism about whether Britain would meet its target of 10,000 tests per day, despite previously assuring it would “definitely happen.”
“Totally f—ing hopeless” the Prime Minister responded. Fourteen minutes later the screenshot shows Cummings missing three calls from the Prime Minister who was ringing to inform him that he’d just tested positive for the disease.
Johnson was hospitalised and nearly lost his life to the virus.
But Cummings said productivity improved when Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stood in for Johnson because “because unlike the PM a) Raab can chair meetings properly instead of telling rambling stories and jokes” and let good officials question people to unearth the truth.
He said this was in contrast to Johnson’s who “as soon as things get ‘a bit embarrassing’ does the whole ‘let’s take it offline’ shtick before shouting ‘forward to victory’, doing a thumbs-up and pegging it out of the room before anybody can disagree.”
By late April, when he was back at work, Johnson was privately conceding that the UK’s ability to procure protective medical equipment for health staff was a “disaster” and that he couldn’t see any solution other than removing Hancock from the job and replacing him with rival Cabinet minister Michael Gove.
“On PPE it’s a disaster. I can’t think of anything except taking Hanock off and putting Gove on,” Johnson said.
Boris Johnson recovered from COVID-19.Credit:Getty
Cummings unleashed his political grenade in a 7284-word blog post around half an hour before Johnson was due to face his weekly grilling in the Commons at Prime Minister’s questions.
While Opposition Leader Keir Starmer did not raise the messages, the leader of the centre-left Scottish National Party Ian Blackford did but included only a reference to the messages in a long-winded question raising fears about Australian beef flooding the UK market as a result of the free trade deal agreed on Tuesday.
Cummings, who departed Downing Street late last year, has since become one of Johnson’s most ardent public critics, after losing a power struggle with Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson.
He claimed to have rejected media offers of “large payments” for documents relating to the UK’s mismanagement of the pandemic.
“All further evidence on COVID will be made freely available to the public,” he said, but added: “Some other things I write will be subscription only.”
On his decision to leak his private correspondence with the Prime Minister, Cummings said: “There are many more I could publish but below and in future I will publish only ones that further the question of ‘what went wrong and how do we learn.’”
“I won’t publish private messages just to embarrass the PM or others.”
Cummings recently testified before a Commons committee that he struggled to convince Johnson to take the virus seriously and that the Prime Minister wanted to be injected with it live on television.
He said Britain’s mismanagement of the virus led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people unnecessarily and that the British government have repeatedly lied about the failures.
He lay the blame with the UK’s decision to pursue a herd immunity strategy before realising that the virus was deadlier than the flu and has called for Hanock’s sacking for failing to ramp up testing and PPE.
Johnson has subsequently said he has full confidence in his health secretary.
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