Pandemic chaos and lies in United Kingdom government: Cummings key points

Dominic Cummings former Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving evidence to a joint inquiry of the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees on the subject of Coronavirus lessons learnt

"I am sorry for the errors and mistakes we may have made", says Jenrick, when pressed for an apology - but says the government was in an "unprecedented situation". "[He told us] "this is just swine flu, don't worry, it's nothing to be frightened of", Cummings admitted.

He argued that mistakes meant "tens of thousands of people died, who didn't need to die".

"Lots of the key people were literally skiing in February", Cummings said.

Dominic Cummings said the United Kingdom government "fell disastrously short".

Cummings declared that Johnson was "unfit" to lead the country through the crisis and that thousands had died needlessly because of decisions made by the government during the last 18 months.

The 49-year-old was criticised for undermining the government's lockdown message early in the pandemic when he went on a lengthy cross-country journey with his family.

"I maintain my point that the government acted throughout with the intention to save accordance with the best scientific advice".

Cummings was appointed chief adviser by Johnson when he took power in July 2019, helping him to secure a thumping election victory that December. Cummings said there was had been no plan for the epidemic, and certainly no plan for a lockdown. He said his real motivation in leaving London was his family's safety, because there had been threats to his London home.

He quoted Helen MacNamara, deputy cabinet secretary, as saying "I've come through here to the prime minister's office to tell you, quote, I think we are absolutely f**ed". Now a fierce critic of his previous employer, he accuses the government of sticking with a policy of "herd immunity" - allowing the virus to spread through the population while protecting the most vulnerable - until it was too late to prevent draconian lockdowns and many deaths.

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Mr Hancock wanted scientists to take the blame for failings and could have been fired for "at least 15 or 20 things", Mr Cummings alleged.

He said the government believed - wrongly, it turned out - that the British public would never accept strict lockdown measures, and that locking down would simply lead to a later, steeper peak in deaths.

"When the public needed us most, the government failed", Cummings told lawmakers, adding that it was "crackers" that someone such as Johnson got to be prime minister.

Cummings alleged that Johnson refused to heed the advice of scientific advisers to impose a second stay-at-home order in September and also expressed regret about ordering the first lockdown.

Mr Hancock was repeatedly attacked by the prime minister's former adviser during a seven-hour-long committee hearing.

"It's true that I hit the panic button (in March 2020) and said we've got to ditch the official plan..."

Cummings said that was contrary to briefings from the government's health experts, who had said some patients had not received necessary treatment.

"It was completely insane that I should have been in such a senior position", he reflected.

Boris Johnson refused to shut the borders during the pandemic because he thought it would be "racist", Dominic Cummings claimed yesterday.

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