Dominic Cummings is 'hell bent on revenge' says Conor Burns
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Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has made sensational claims about the Prime Minister and his Government. In his first major TV interview, Mr Cummings – who ran the Vote Leave campaign in 2016 – told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg that Mr Johnson held out on reimposing Covid restrictions last year because “the people who are dying are essentially all over 80.” Mr Cummings also alleged Mr Johnson was determined to go to see the Queen in person, despite people in Number 10 already falling ill with Covid in March 2020.
Downing Street denies the account.
Mr Cummings has launched multiple attacks on his former boss after leaving Downing Street in December, including at a seven-hour committee meeting with MPs and through a new subscription blog.
However, Mr Cummings denied being motivated by revenge.
Asked about Mr Cummings’s comments, a government spokesperson said ministers were fully focused on recovery from the pandemic and restoring the economy.
As the Brexit guru finds himself in the eye of the storm again, unearthed reports suggest Mr Cummings’ claims are not at all surprising.
Despite being integral to Mr Johnson’s administration last year, Mr Cummings had in the past fiercely criticised the Conservative Party.
Three years ago, he claimed voters were right to think Tory MPs largely do not care about poorer people or the NHS.
Speaking at a conference, Mr Cummings said: “People think, and by the way I think most people are right: ‘The Tory party is run by people who basically don’t care about people like me.’
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“That is what most people in the country have thought about the Tory party for decades.
“I know a lot of Tory MPs and I am sad to say the public is basically correct. Tory MPs largely do not care about these poorer people.
“They don’t care about the NHS. And the public has kind of cottoned on to that.”
Last year, Ian Lavery, the former chair of the Labour party, said it was a “staggering admission from the Prime Minister’s right-hand man”.
Mr Lavery told the Guardian: “As Dominic Cummings says himself, the Conservatives don’t care about anything apart from looking after their rich friends – whether that means selling off our NHS to American corporations in pursuit of a Trump trade deal, or giving tax cuts to big businesses while cutting public services. We need a general election and a Labour government to protect our health service from the likes of Boris Johnson.”
At the Nudgestock event in 2017, Mr Cummings said also Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, the co-leaders of the Vote Leave campaign who are now running the government, had recognised the dangers of being seen to go back on their pledge to give £350million a week to the NHS after Brexit.
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He said the pair realised they needed to keep their promise on the NHS “not only from the self-preservation point of view but also from the political smart point of view; they understood the power of actually delivering”.
On the £350million pledge, Mr Cummings said at the conference: “Me, Michael and Boris had talked about this in private before the vote and actually on the day of victory in the Vote Leave office, so when Boris came in on Friday 24th and punched the air and whatnot, he and I walked into this little room, amid beer cans and craziness, and I said to him: ‘The first thing you do is say we are going to meet this promise.’
“And he smashed his fist down on the table and said: ‘Absolutely no question about it.’
“And if Michael had not taken out Boris, and Boris had run as leader, I am 99.9 percent recurring – as sure as I can be about anything – that Boris would have said I will honour the promises we made in that campaign.”
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