Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former special adviser, has told Parliament that “many senior people” told the prime minister he should have fired Health Secretary Matt Hancock for the “disastrous” handling of the pandemic.
Giving evidence to MPs as part of the inquiry into lessons learned from the pandemic, Cummings said there were “numerous examples that Hancock had lied and senior figures did not take the initial threat of the coronavirus seriously, then failed to meet the challenge and lied to cover up mistakes which cost thousands of lives.
“There is no doubt that many senior people performed far, far, disastrously below the standards the country would expect,” he said. “The secretary of state for health is one of those people.
“I said repeatedly to the prime minister that [Hancock] should be fired, so did the cabinet secretary, so did many other senior people.”
The Department of Health was “a smoking ruin”, he added, which was “completely and utterly overwhelmed” with no system for emergency procurement of protective equipment.
In a meeting held on the day the prime minister was diagnosed with Covid-19, Dominic Cummings said he was told the department was “turning down ventilators” because the prices had increased and it would take months for emergency ventilators and PPE to be shipped to the UK from China.