Steerpike

Cummings: Boris said Hancock has been ‘hopeless’

Cummings: Boris said Hancock has been 'hopeless'
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Since his eight hour long testimony to a joint select committee last month Dominic Cummings has been unusually quiet. The Vote Leave maestro has declined interview requests after levelling a litany of accusations at Boris Johnson and his government, leaving Matt Hancock and others to defend their record in various studios and parliamentary appearances.

Now though he has returned to the fray in a 7,250 word Substack post to his £100 a year subscribers. Steerpike is still working his way manfully through reams of Cummings prose but once again Matt Hancock does not come out well. Taking aim at the 'PM's favoured stooges' Cummings writes that the 'PM/Hancock are spinning distorted versions of my messages from internal WhatsApp groups' and has decided to now fight fire with fire.

Screenshots posted by the former chief special adviser show Boris Johnson describing his health secretary as 'hopeless' in a message of 27 March 2020. After Cummings told Johnson that health department officials had been turned down ventilator offers because the price had been marked up, Johnson replied 'It's Hancock. He has been hopeless.' 

Elsewhere, Johnson uses stronger language in other messages from 27 March. After being informed that UK testing was lagging at between 5,000-7,000 tests a day, the Prime Minister described the situation as 'totally fucking hopeless'. Cummings writes that the subsequent missed calls were Johnson ringing him to say he had tested positive for Covid.

Later in the blog, Cummings posted another screenshot from 27 April, in which Johnson claimed 'on PPE it's a disaster' – presumably in reference to the procurement issues for protective equipment. The Prime Minister added that 'I can't think of anything except taking Hancock off and putting Gove on' – a revelation that will undoubtedly sting for the health secretary – before asking his friend turned nemesis 'wtf do we do?'

Coming just minutes ahead of Boris Johnson's weekly Prime Ministers' Questions appearance, Steerpike wonders what other 'Dom bombs' Cummings intends to launch on his blog. 

For £100 a year, it certainly seems to be bang for the buck.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk

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