Boris Johnson defends virus record after ex-aide Dominic Cummings' attack

6/12The Daily Telegraph suggests an element of revenge from Cummings saying'this was also about settling scores

His claims about the prime minister and health secretary Matt Hancock rocked Westminster and tore a hole in the once seemingly close relationship between Cummings and Johnson.

Hancock said "the unsubstantiated allegations around honesty are not true".

The health spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, Jonathan Ashworth, said the government had questions to answer, whether or not Mr Cummings' testimony was true.

Boris Johnson's former aid described Matt Hancock as "completely incapable of doing the job".

When pressed if he had told the prime minister and Mr Cummings in March 2020 that patients being discharged would all be tested, Mr Hancock said: "My recollection of events is that I committed to delivering that testing for people going from hospital into care homes when we could do it".

Thousands of people died with Covid-19 in British care homes in the first months of the outbreak.

Dominic Cummings, who was Mr Johnson's right-hand man until late past year, attacked his former boss during seven hours of testimony before a parliamentary committee yesterday, casting Mr Johnson as incompetent, disorganised and unfit to be the prime minister.

In response Mr Johnson said "some of the commentary I've heard doesn't bear any relation to reality".

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He insisted that "at every stage we have been governed by a determination to protect life" but acknowledged the situation in care homes had been "tragic".

"We take decisions as fast as we can but we have to weigh the data", he said.

"I don't see anything now in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the roadmap". Johnson said removing the remaining measures would depend on how much the new variant drove an increase in cases, and the speed of the vaccination campaign.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Colchester hospital in Colchester, eastern England on May 27, 2021.

Also on Thursday, Johnson said he disagreed with his former aide Cummings' claim that tens of thousands of people died unnecessarily because of the government's inaction on Covid-19. "We need answers and urgent safeguards put in place to protect workers still putting themselves in harm's way".

As officials and ministers across Whitehall responded to Mr Cummings' barrage of criticism, Downing Street was forced to deny his claims about Mr Johnson's fiancée.

"I was very concerned about the repeated mistakes from the first wave into the second wave, and in particular the slowness to lock down in the autumn, and I think the Prime Minister got that completely wrong".

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