Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Johnson Savaged Over U.K. Covid Failings by Ex-Aide Cummings

PoliticsMay 26, 2021 19:24
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Bloomberg. Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, departs number 10 Downing Street on his way to attend a weekly questions and answers session in Parliament in London, U.K., on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Johnson is braced for an onslaught of criticism from his former adviser Dominic Cummings, who is set to reveal what he knows about government missteps that contributed to the U.K. suffering the worst pandemic death toll in Europe. 2/2

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing an unprecedented challenge to his authority after the controversial strategist who masterminded his rise to power declared he is unfit to hold the job.

During almost seven hours of testimony in Parliament, Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings catalogued the government’s “disastrous” pandemic failures, saying the premier’s poor leadership led to thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Cummings blamed Johnson for being slow to put the country into lockdown last year, not taking the Covid threat seriously enough and being too concerned with media headlines to be an effective leader.

Cummings’s intervention threatens to puncture the mood of optimism around Johnson’s administration flowing from the U.K.’s successful vaccination rollout and the reopening of the economy.

While Cummings is a divisive figure in the eyes of the public -- and many of his accusations relate to events in the past -- much of his criticism was aimed directly at the current operation of 10 Downing Street and the character of Britain’s premier.

‘Very Bad’

“Tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die,” Cummings said in evidence to the House of Commons inquiry on the pandemic. “There is no doubt the prime minister made some very bad misjudgments and got some very serious things wrong.”

Asked directly whether Johnson is a fit and proper person to lead Britain out of the pandemic, Cummings replied: “No.”

It is a judgment that is dangerous for the prime minister because Cummings worked so closely with him at the heart of government and during the 2016 Brexit referendum. It was Cummings who shaped that campaign, and then devised the Conservative Party’s winning general election strategy in 2019.

There is no immediate electoral threat to Johnson, with a general election not due until 2024. Voters only this month endorsed the premier’s leadership, giving him a set of local victories, despite controversies in the weeks leading up to the polls.

Chaos

Yet political fortunes are fickle in the U.K. and Cummings’s detailed account of the chaos around the prime minister and his errors in office has the potential to damage his authority among Tory members of Parliament at Westminster. In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Johnson denied that any mistakes he’d made led to excess deaths from the virus.

Among his many attacks on Johnson and the wider administration, Cummings said:

  • Johnson regretted ordering the U.K.’s first lockdown and repeatedly said he’d wished he’d been like the mayor in the movie “Jaws” who kept the beaches open despite the threat to public safety
  • After finally agreeing to impose a second lockdown in October 2020, following a delay that led to needless deaths, Johnson said he’d rather let the “bodies pile high” than agree to a third in the future
  • Johnson is overly obsessed with media coverage and too easily swayed by newspaper headlines
  • The prime minister’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, has an excessive influence over the premier’s decision-making
  • 10 Downing Street is a place of “chaos,” an environment that Johnson actively cultivates to reinforce his own power

A significant part of Cummings’s critique focused on current problems with Britain’s pandemic response, arguing that the country’s border policy is woefully inadequate and the British state is not prepared to deal with future crises. He lamented Johnson’s decision to delay a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic, saying that lessons had to be learned now.

Cummings also repeatedly attacked Health Secretary Matt Hancock, saying he regularly lobbied Johnson to fire the minister for lying about the state of Britain’s pandemic preparedness and interfering with the establishment of an effective testing regime. The Department of Health rejected Cummings’s claims.

A year ago, Cummings was at the center of his own storm, after driving his family more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) out of London, apparently ignoring his own government’s lockdown orders.

On Wednesday, he explained for the first time that this was not simply for childcare reasons, as he initially claimed, but because his family had faced death threats and they needed to flee for their own safety.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Johnson Savaged Over U.K. Covid Failings by Ex-Aide Cummings
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email