Cummings: PM said Hancock's Test and Trace plan was like 'whistling in the dark'

25 June 2021, 19:14

The messages are the latest correspondence to be published by Dominic Cummings
The messages are the latest correspondence to be published by Dominic Cummings. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Dominic Cummings has launched another attack on the Government's Covid response, claiming that Boris Johnson accused Matt Hancock's Test and Trace plan of being like "whistling in the dark".

The prime minister's former aide wrote in his blog that the prime minister said Matt Hancock's Test and Trace plan was like "whistling in the dark" - meaning it was an attempt to pretend everything was fine.

In a post titled "More evidence on how the PM's & Hancock's negligence killed people", Mr Cummings claimed to have forwarded a note to Mr Johnson containing data on Test and Trace.

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In the forwarded message, Mr Cummings wrote: " if you skim through this you will have good idea re some of the problems/complexities...

"As usual, my team of irregulars is having to do this cos the centre cannot do it.

"NOT SUSTAINABLE.

"All this should have been done weeks ago and should not need me to do it."

He added: "We can't go on like this."

In response, Mr Johnson wrote: "Thanks totally agree.

"The whole track and trace thing feels like whistling in the dark.

"Legions of imaginary clouseaus and no plan to hire them.

"Apps that don’t yet work.

"And above all no idea how to get new cases down to a manageable level or how long it will take.

"By which time uk may have secured double distinction of being the European country w the most fatalities and the biggest economic hit.

"So your email is bang on.

"We GOTTA turn it round."

The fresh revelation comes hours after photos were published showing the married Mr Hancock kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo.

Mrs Coladangelo, who is also married, was a close friend from university.

The photo, which appears to be taken from CCTV footage, was taken at a time when close contact outside of household units was against the law in most situations as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Hancock admitted he broke social distancing guidelines and apologised, but defied calls to step down.

“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances," he said in a statement.

"I have let people down and am very sorry.

"I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family."

The revelation from Mr Cummings is the latest in a series of explosive allegations made by the prime minister's former aide.

He previously published a WhatsApp message from Mr Johnson appearing to show him calling the health secretary "totally f***ing hopeless".

He also said that Mr Hancock should have been fired for multiple offences, whilst giving evidence to MPs on the Government's handling of the Covid crisis.

"I think the Secretary of State for Health should've been fired for at least 15, 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet room and publicly," said Mr Cummings.

"There's no doubt at all that many senior people performed far, far disastrously below the standards which the country has a right to expect.

"I think the Secretary of State for Health is certainly one of those people.

"I said repeatedly to the Prime Minister that he should be fired, so did the cabinet secretary, so did many other senior people."

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In response, the health secretary said the allegations were "unsubstantiated and untrue" and said he had "no idea" why Mr Cummings did not like him.

"These allegations that were put yesterday… are serious allegations, and I welcome the opportunity to come to the House to put formally on the record that these unsubstantiated allegations around honesty are not true," said Mr Hancock to the House of Commons.

"I've been straight with people in public and in private throughout."