Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Dominic Cummings calls out Covid inquiry delay as 'intolerable'
26 May 2021, 18:39
Dominic Cummings said the decision to delay the Covid public inquiry is "intolerable".
Boris Johnson announced that the inquiry will take place in spring 2022, but the former aide to the Prime Minister said in his evidence that he believes it should be sooner.
Mr Cummings said the delay was "completely terrible" and called for MPs to take control of the issue, warning that memories would be rewritten and official documents would go "astray".
He also said he could not imagine why Mr Johnson has not met bereaved families.
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.
Mr Cummings explained: "Tens of thousands of people died who didn't need to die."
"There is absolutely no excuse for delaying that because a lot of the reasons for why that happened are still in place now.
"Look at the whole debate about variants and whatnot - this has to be honestly explained.
"If No. 10 today won't tell the truth about the official plan which they briefed the media about and described on TV a year ago, what on earth else is going on in there now?"
Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said Mr Cummings' revelation about the thousands that had died was a "devastating admission".
"Very serious allegations have been made against Boris Johnson and his handling of Covid," he said.
"No more delays. A public inquiry needs to start this summer."