LBC Views: No truce any time soon in Cummings saga, Theo Usherwood writes

17 June 2021, 11:53 | Updated: 17 June 2021, 14:36

Political Editor Theo Usherwood's LBC View
Political Editor Theo Usherwood's LBC View. Picture: LBC
Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood reacts after Dominic Cummings made several bombshell revelations.

The tweet dropped from Dominic Cummings at 11.37am, just 23 minutes before Prime Minister's Questions.

The clear intention of the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser was to cause as much political damage as possible.

Attached to the tweet, a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation between Boris Johnson and Mr Cummings on March 23 last year.

In it, Mr Cummings bemoaned Matt Hancock’s inability to ramp up Covid testing and the impact that failure was having by diverting NHS workers from the frontline.

The PM’s damning reply: “Totally f***ing hopeless."

A month later, Mr Hancock was still in post as Health Secretary.

This time Mr Cummings was very unhappy about the procurement of protective equipment.

By Boris Johnson’s own admission on WhatsApp, it had descended into a “disaster”, as he speculated in writing over sacking Mr Hancock and replacing him with Michael Gove.

The first conclusion to be drawn is that Mr Cummings does indeed have receipts for at least some of the allegations he made when he appeared in front of MPs last month.

Undoubtedly, there will be more. And going by today’s salvo, Mr Cummings has no intention of causing a truce with his former boss anytime soon.

But the response, or lack of response, from Keir Starmer at the Despatch Box only minutes later shows the Labour leader, and his advisers, are too wedded to their game plan. That like former leaders, Sir Keir does not have the ability to pivot when new information drops into his lap.

The other problem for Sir Keir is that the leader of the SNP in Westminster Ian Blackford, with a just little more time to digest the information, did manage to make that gear change.

The joust in the Commons is what the Labour leader – with his background as a barrister – is supposed to be good at.

However, whilst he came up short today, Sir Keir will be hoping this is the first of many salvos from Mr Cummings.

The PM, however, will be nervously looking over his shoulder.