Boris Johnson 'unfit for the job' as Prime Minister, Cummings says

26 May 2021, 19:20

The Prime Minister's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said that he regarded Boris Johnson as "unfit for the job
The Prime Minister's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said that he regarded Boris Johnson as "unfit for the job. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Prime Minister's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said that he regarded Boris Johnson as "unfit for the job".

Giving evidence to the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees he said the pair's relationship had taken a "terrible dive" after the second lockdown in October.

Mr Cummings- who was previously regarded as the PM's right-hand man - added: "The Prime Minister knew I blamed him for the whole situation and I did.

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"By October 31 our relations were essentially already finished, the fact that his girlfriend also wanted rid of me was relevant but not the heart of the problem.

"The heart of the problem was fundamentally I regarded him as unfit for the job and I was trying to create a structure around him to try and stop what I thought were extremely bad decisions and push other things through against his wishes.

"He had the view that he was Prime Minister and I should just be doing what he wanted me to."

Mr Cummings made the claim as part of a plethora of allegations made against the Prime Minister and his Government over the handling of the pandemic.

One of the most potentially damaging claims was that Mr Johnson did say "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" before the November lockdown.

He was asked: "Did you hear him (Mr Johnson) say 'let the bodies pile high in their thousands' or 'it's only killing 80-year-olds?"Mr Cummings replied: "There's been a few different versions of these stories knocking around."There was a version of it in the Sunday Times which was not accurate, but the version that the BBC reported was accurate."

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He was then asked: "And you heard that (Boris Johnson saying those comments)?"

The former adviser responded: "I heard that in the prime minister's study.

"That was not in September, that was immediately after he finally made the decision to do the lockdown on 31 October."

The prime minister has previously strongly denied making the alleged comments and ministers lined up to defend him after they came to light.

Elsewhere, Mr Cummings admitted the Barnard Castle saga was a "complete disaster" that "undermined public confidence" in the government's response to the pandemic.

Addressing the infamous Durham trip last spring, the prime minister's former adviser told the committee that it was "a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake" which he is "extremely sorry about".

Mr Cummings also revealed that he and Mr Johnson did not "tell the full story" about his lockdown trip.

He conceded that he understood why people might think it was "weird" for him to test his eyesight by driving to the attraction, adding that he wished he had "never heard of Barnard Castle and never gone".

"I can only apologise for the whole debacle," he told MPs.