London (AP) – Lies, Chaos, Failure: In an hour of general billing, former top government adviser Dominic Cummings tugged on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s corona policy.
Johnson was “unfit” to lead the government, Cummings said Wednesday in London in the presence of MPs. The head of government completely underestimated the virus and there were no prepared contingency plans. “Tens of thousands of people have died who should not have died.” Johnson denied the charges.
There are several potential mines that the once most powerful man on Johnson’s side is getting in the way of his former boss. Cummings claims he wants to expose the truth with his testimony. But sometimes it seems like a campaign of revenge: the former “gray eminence” left the government in November 2020 in a dispute.
Cummings turned to health secretary Matt Hancock, who he accused of lying and criminal behavior. The department head had failed to purchase protective equipment and tried to pass the blame on to others. Johnson’s spokesman defended Hancock, who is still in office. But Cummings also denied the prime minister’s qualities. There are “thousands and thousands” of people who are more competent. There are many brilliant minds among the professional civil servants. “The problem in this crisis was that lions were often led by donkeys.” He explicitly referred the criticism to himself.
To the members of two parliamentary committees, Cummings painted the picture of a self-indulgent prime minister interested only in maintaining power and who has long ridiculed the danger of a health crisis. The head of government even deliberately wanted to have the virus injected live on television to show that Corona is not dangerous, Cummings claimed. Johnson later became infected and had to be treated for days – “almost on his deathbed,” as Cummings said – in an intensive care unit. The ex-consultant also fell seriously ill with Corona.
Still, Johnson stayed on track, Cummings said. When he called for stricter access policies, as in Taiwan, the prime minister preferred to speak out against the nationwide lockdown. Accordingly, Johnson said he should have acted like the mayor of the movie “The Great White Shark” who, despite the man-eating predatory fish, is not closing the beaches – out of concern for tourism. According to media reports, Johnson said at the time that he would rather accept “the corpses pile up by the thousands.” Cummings confirmed the statement, which the prime minister has repeatedly denied.
Johnson also admitted that he feared Cummings more than the chaos in the government. “Chaos means everyone will look to me as the one responsible,” Johnson told him.
Cummings described a government on a zigzag course: the real plan was to achieve herd immunity. For example, in mid-March 2020, then-top official Mark Sedwill said Johnson should call for coronavirus parties, similar to the way parents organize chicken pox parties for their children. Cabinet members had dismissed the allegations before the testimony.
With more than 150,000 people who have died from or with Covid, the UK is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic in Europe. The government has been criticized for hesitating too long, especially on the first lockdown. Cummings said the spread of the virus was also due to corona patients being sent from clinics back to nursing homes untested – contrary to authorities’ assurances.
For the opposition, the violent accusations are a bull’s eye. “We had a circus when we actually needed a serious government,” said Scottish Independence Party leader, SNP, Ian Blackford. But Johnson let the charges bounce. Although he apologized for the suffering of the population and took his responsibility. “But I insist that the government has acted consistently with the intention of saving lives,” Johnson said. He prefers to look ahead – and see the population at his side. While the opposition is piercing history, his government is acting.
Johnson shouldn’t have too much to fear from his Conservative party as long as he adheres to the announced opening policy. Rather than asking about Cummings, a Member of Parliament was more concerned about whether Boris Johnson would soon meet an alpaca named Boris in northwest England. He would like to come, the prime minister said modestly.