For a whole heap of time, he was Boris Johnson’s key aide – helping his employer to a handsome General Election victory and masterminding the PR campaign that ultimately led to Brexit getting over the line.
Now, seemingly having had some kind of soul shift – and absolutely not because he was fired from his job – Cummins is on the attack, slagging off the ‘incompetent’ Prime Minister and throwing a few other MPs, notably Matt Hancock, under a bus.
The former chief aide has been giving evidence in front of a Commons inquiry into how the government has handled the coronavirus pandemic, and Cummins has been on top form – delivering some classic one liners that include describing key figures on Downing Street as ‘lions led by donkeys’.
Why Cummins is laying into his former employers now is anybody’s guess – has he woken from his slumber, or is he seeking a book deal based upon his juicy revelations?
It is, perhaps, a bit late for Cummins to be extolling the virtues of truth, honesty and integrity – particularly as he helped this government retain power based on, shall we say, the ‘massaging’ of facts in their last General Election campaign.
What Has Dominic Cummins Said?
It would probably be quicker to talk about what has not been said in one of the most damning verdicts of the government delivered since the start of the pandemic.
Cummins claimed that ‘tens of thousands’ of lives were lost needlessly as ministers dithered in the wake of the Covid explosion, and that supposed safety measures – including those of a ‘protective shield’ placed around care homes – simply weren’t true.
“The government rhetoric was we put a shield around care homes – it was complete nonsense,” Cummins said when revealing that the government hadn’t enforced mandatory testing for those returning to their care accommodation. “Quite the opposite of putting a shield around them – we sent people with Covid back to the care homes.” Those comments were later backed up by Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association.
Cummins also described Boris as ‘unfit’ for the Prime Minister’s job, and declared Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to be ‘serially incompetent’.
He also claimed that the government DID sign off on herd immunity as a possible method for tackling Covid-19 – a stance that the PM was later forced to seriously backtrack on after it was revealed that herding would be a scientific disaster.
At one point, Boris said that he wanted to be injected with coronavirus live on TV – that’s Cummins’ recollection at least, and the former aide claimed that the PM’s girlfriend Carrie had tried to persuade him to appoint some of her friends to senior positions within Whitehall and the civil service.
But is it more lies, lies and damn lies from a man who falsified facts to get Boris and co into power in the first place?
Hancock’s Half Hour
Cummins saved much of his vitriol for Hancock.
“There’s no doubt at all that many senior people performed far, far disastrously below the standards which the country has a right to expect,” he said. “I think the secretary of state for health is certainly one of those people.”
He said that Hancock became a figure of fun within Parliament after making rather grandiose promises on the number of Covid tests that could be completed – 100,000 a day by the end of April 2020 was described by Cummins as ‘incredibly stupid.’
“In my opinion he should’ve been fired for that thing alone, and that itself meant the whole of April was hugely disrupted by different parts of Whitehall fundamentally trying to operate in different ways completely because Hancock wanted to be able to go on TV and say: ‘Look at me and my 100k target’.
“It was criminal, disgraceful behaviour that caused serious harm.”
Perhaps the most astonishing of all of Cummins’ claims was that Boris had even attempted to fire Hancock in April 2021, but that in the end he ‘just fundamentally wouldn’t do it.’
Hancock has denied all of Cummins’ allegations and stated that he has always been ‘straight with people’ – apart from when breaking the law and awarding major contracts to his friends, that is.
All of which could be music to the ears of punters. Few bookmakers are offering political odds to tuck into right now, but the exchange platform Smarkets has a cracking market – next Cabinet minister to leave their post.
Hancock is available at nearly 5/1, and that looks to be tremendous value for a man who has, somehow, so far evaded punishment for his incompetence and rule-breaking. His time, you suspect, is coming….or should that be Cummins.