Dominic Cummings Whatsapp messages: What did the texts say?
DOMINIC Cummings has gone for the jugular by publishing scathing Whatsapp messages about Matt Hancock.
The ex-No10 chief – a former ally of Boris Johnson – has shared his private comments with the PM during the height of the Covid crisis.
What did the messages between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings say?
Boris Johnson branded Matt Hancock "totally f***ing hopeless" and wanted to replace him with Michael Gove, according to bombshell WhatsApp messages released by Dominic Cummings on Wednesday June 16.
Mr Cummings has published a series of bombshell screenshots purportedly showing exchanges between himself and the Prime Minister to combat what he said are "lies" from No 10.
He was aiming to expose his former boss's apparent frustration with the health secretary.
The vengeful ex-No10 aide shared an expletive-ridden 7,000-word blogpost stuffed with explosive screenshots, with Mr Cummings describing the Cabinet Office as a "total s**tshow" during the coronavirus pandemic.
Downing Street was asked multiple times during a Westminster briefing with journalists about the veracity of the WhatsApps and whether they were genuine or not.
But the PM's official spokesman chose not to dispute their legitimacy.
The former No10 boss said that PPE was delayed as officials “shipped it” rather than flew it in to the UK – to save money.
Mr Cummings said on Twitter that Mr Hancock "claimed to MPs" that there was "no PPE shortage, everybody got treatment they needed,and that he was a heroic success on testing".
The political strategist said that Mr Hancock had blamed Treasury bosses for hampering him on Personal Protective Equipment procurement, and that he had in fact organised aprotective ring around care homes.
"His claims = false," stated Mr Cummings.
He then tweeted this purported exchange with the PM, who apparently replied that Mr Hancock was "totally f***ing hopeless":
On April 27, Mr Johnson apparently messaged the No10 chief to slam PPE provision as a 'disaster'.
Almost half of England’s doctors had to initially source their own PPE or relied on a donation when none was available through normal NHS channels, according to a survey by the British Medical Association.
The PM suggested that Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, should take charge instead.
"I can't think of anything except taking Hancock off and putting Gove on," the PM was supposed to have messaged Mr Cummings.
"Care homes were appallingly neglected in April, the crucial month," writes the ex-No10 political guru.
He also slammed Mr Hancock for ignoring the plight of care homes because he was busy planning his testing press conference.
Mr Cummings claims in his blog: "Hancock is creating a new version of reality in which the government really did ‘throw a protective ring’ around care homes.
"The reality: Covid patients were sent untested from hospital to care homes.
"And Hancock neglected care homes and testing throughout April partly because Hancock was trying to focus effort on his press conference at the end of April claiming success for his announcement on 2/4."
He adds: "A big problem in the crucial April month with testing in general, care homes in particular, and PPE/procurement was that many people complained that Hancock was distorting priorities across the system so that he could hold a successful press conference at the end of April and say on TV ‘I’ve met this goal’ and give his nauseating spiel about how he’s not really a hero, it’s a team effort…
"This is why I and others were so angry (including the PM sometimes)."
The Office for National Statistics estimates that 42,000 care home residents in England and Wales have died of Covid.
Sarah Scobie, deputy director of research for the Nuffield Trust think tank, told The British Medical Journal that it was difficult to estimate the deaths in care homes among people transferred from hospital.
“There were lots of factors that could be involved in the high death toll: access to personal protective equipment, the difficulty of isolating infected patients within a care home environment, and staff working across multiple care homes,” she told The BMJ.
Mr Cummings doubled down his attacks on the Health Secretary's handling of the testing rollout by accusing him of trying to soak up the credit for the 100,000 daily target.
He said Mr Hancock tried to rewrite history by pretending he had the “heroic” idea of ramping up testing to 100,000 a day.
He writes in his blog: "A public announcement was in principle definitely right but he did what he always did — he focused on the media and himself then lied.
"Testing, like vaccines, was removed from his control in May because of his incompetence and dishonesty March-April."
Health committee chair Jeremy Hunt tweeted: "There was more melodrama than normal but it is not possible to stack up the most sensational revelations without evidence.
"Dominic Cummings' tweets show the PM's total frustration ('f***ing useless' etc.) but do not prove anyone 'lied'."
Mr Cummings claimed the PM would regularly "whinge" to him and others about Mr Hancock but would never confront the latter directly.
In the most eye-catching exchange, the mastermind of the Brexit campaign who was at the heart of the Covid response until leaving No10 in November noted the US's rapid increase in testing capacity.
He criticised Mr Hancock, or "MH" as he referred to him in the message on March 3 last year, for apparently saying he was "sceptical" about meeting a new UK target having earlier said it would "definitely" be met.
The PM apparently responded: "Totally f***ing hopeless."
Mr Johnson appeared to lay blame for the shortage of ventilators at the feet of the Health Secretary.
Messages between him and Mr Cummings on March 27 2020 fume against the lack of equipment, which ministers were scrambling to buy.
Mr Cummings said in a message to the PM: "They've totally f***ed up ventilators.
"I just heard officials admit we have been turning down ventilator offers because the price has been marked up."
The PM replied: "It’s Hancock. He has been hopeless."
Mr Cummings also recalled feeling utterly exasperated that officials decided to ship PPE rather than fly it in to save money – and said the lack of protective gear "killed" frontline staff in the first wave.
Boris Johnson's exit plans
Boris Johnson will step down after the next election to "make money and have fun" according to his rattled former aide.
The embittered aide also suggested the nation's Covid enquiry wouldn't start for "years" as it is "designed to punt the tricky parts until after this PM has gone."
Mr Johnson has announced a public inquiry into the Government's handling of the crisis will launch in April 2022 – but critics fear it will take years to report.
But the former No10 aide said the PM has no intention of sticking around for it's publication.
He wrote: "It will not start for years and it is designed to punt the tricky parts until after this PM has gone — unlike other PMs, this one has a clear plan to leave at the latest a couple of years after the next election, he wants to make money and have fun not ‘go on and on’."
Mr Johnson's press secretary hit back: "The PM has actually been asked this before and has said himself it's utter nonsense, so that still stands.
"As you know, the PM was elected in 2019 and continues to focus on delivering the manifesto we were elected on and leading the county out of the pandemic."
Raab better than Johnson
Taking a swipe at the PM, Mr Cummings praised Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as a more effective manager during the Covid crisis.
As First Secretary of State, Mr Raab is the ranking Cabinet Minister and deputised when the PM was struck down with Covid.
Mr Cummings has sung his praises, saying meetings were "much more productive because unlike the PM Raab can chair meetings properly instead of telling rambling stories and jokes".
He also said that whenever confronted by a tricky question Mr Johnson would "shout ‘forward to victory’, [before] doing a thumbs-up and pegging it out of the room before anybody can disagree."
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