Dominic Cummings threatens to release 'crucial' Covid document in tweet

18 May 2021, 13:27 | Updated: 18 May 2021, 14:28

Dominic Cummings threatened to release “crucial” document in a now deleted tweet
Dominic Cummings threatened to release “crucial” document in a now deleted tweet. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Dominic Cummings has threatened to release a "crucial" document ahead of an appearance before a committee of MPs examining the UK's Covid response next week.

Boris Johnson's former aide said in a tweet that was promptly deleted: “I’ve got the only copy of a crucial historical document from covid decision-making.”

He added: “Should I 1/ give it to the Cmte next week / put on blog, b/ auction it … & give the ETH to a covid families charity?”

He deleted the tweet shortly after posting it, saying he had “botched options like idiot”.

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In a string of posts on his social media account, Mr Cummings also blamed the Government's secrecy over the coronavirus response for the "catastrophe" in spring 2020.

He said the Covid plan was supposed to be "world class" but turned out to be "part disaster, part non-existent".

Public scrutiny is now essential to examine how the Government will respond to a variant of the virus which can escape vaccines, he added.

Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street in November after a behind-the-scenes power struggle, will give evidence on the coronavirus response on May 26.

Ahead of his appearance, he highlighted his concerns with the approach adopted in the early stages of the pandemic last year.

He wrote: "One of the most fundamental & unarguable lessons of Feb-March is that secrecy contributed greatly to the catastrophe.

"Openness to scrutiny wd have exposed Gvt errors weeks earlier than happened."

He questioned why MPs were accepting the "lack of a public plan now" for the vaccines taskforce to respond to new variants.

"The best hedge re a variant escaping current vaccines is public scrutiny of Gvt plans," he wrote.

"This will hopefully show it's been taken seriously.

"If not, better learn now that the Gvt has screwed up again than when 'variant escapes' news breaks."

Mr Cummings, who has seen the classified elements of the Covid response, suggested the Government could make 99% of vaccine plans public without risk as national security concerns are "almost totally irrelevant to the critical parts of the problem".

He also suggested that vaccines could have been developed faster if "human challenge" trials, where volunteers are deliberately infected with the virus, had begun immediately.

That could have meant "jabs in arms (in the) summer", he said, but the vaccine taskforce (VTF) was "constrained" in ways they should not be.

Human challenge trials only took place this year, but the development of vaccines was rapid in comparison with work on jabs for other diseases.