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Gordon Brown tells LBC: Cummings messages show 'what we all feared - Govt was chaotic'

16 June 2021, 17:38 | Updated: 16 June 2021, 17:47

By Will Taylor

Gordon Brown has said Dominic Cummings' leaked messages mean a public inquiry should be held to see if ministers were "so far behind events that lives were put at risk".

The former prime minister told LBC’s Eddie Mair they showed the government was "chaotic" during the Covid outbreak.

His comments follow leaked messages purportedly showing Boris Johnson describe Health Secretary Matt Hancock as "totally f***ing hopeless" and branding the PPE situation in April 2020 as a "disaster".

They were published by Dominic Cummings, an ex-aide of the PM's.

Mr Brown said: "I think this shows what we all feared - that it was pretty chaotic in government, and may still be, when they were trying to grapple with the biggest problems that I think governments have faced over many, many years, that they were fighting among themselves.

"I mean, when you've got a crisis, you've got to get down to it and you've got to get people working together and you've got to actually really be two or three steps ahead of events, you can't be behind the curve.

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"And it seems that at every point, if we're to believe these emails, the government was behind the curve and not really getting a grip of the problem, and that meant that there was less testing done, that there was less protection against the disease.

"And therefore, it does mean that when the final public inquiry is carried out people will have to look at this information to see whether they were just so far behind events that lives were put at risk."

Downing Street did not deny the leaked messages are authentic and said that Boris Johnson has full confidence in Mr Hancock.

Mr Cummings has claimed Mr Hancock should have been sacked for several things, including lying in Cabinet room meetings. He said the minister wanted to use scientific advisers as a shield from criticism.

Mr Hancock has denied the ex-aide's allegations and said it was "telling" Mr Cummings had not provided written evidence backing up his claims.