Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former top advisor, said the prime minister is a “joke” in the light of a new report showing the prime minister’s Covid pandemic failings.
It comes as a landmark inquiry exposed major government “deficiencies”, fueled by British exceptionalism, a lack of transparency and the exclusion of international experts from UK’s scientific advisors group.
Cummings told Sky News: “The government system for dealing with crises is a disaster, as I wrote in 2019.
New political system
“The system was bad for many years before Covid. Me and others put into place work to try and improve the system in 2020 after the first wave, unfortunately the prime minister – being the joke that he is – has not pushed that work through.
“Now we have a joke prime minister and a joke leader of the Labour Party and we obviously need a new political system.”
Earlier this year, Cummings has given evidence to committees, where he complained about “false groupthink” in the government.
He said: “It was clear through all the meetings with Public Health England and everybody that everything was going wrong; Everything we pushed, everything we probed; everything was wrong, bad, terrible.
“But I was incredibly frightened about the consequences of me kind of pulling a massive emergency string and saying, ‘the official plan is wrong, and it is going to kill everyone, and you’ve got to change path’, because what if I’m wrong?
“What if I persuade him [Boris Johnson] to change tack and that is a disaster? Everyone is telling me that if we go down this alternative path, it is going to be five times worse in the winter, and what if that is the consequence?”
‘One of the worst public health failures in UK history’
The inquiry currently under debate revealed Johnson’s handling of the pandemic is one of the worst public health failures in the UK’s history.
The prime minister’s first order of a complete lockdown was described as “slow” by the report, which labelled it as the “wrong policy”, leading to “a higher initial death toll”.
The belief that it would be “impossible” to contain the virus was only challenged when it became clear the NHS would be overwhelmed.
The report was based on evidence from over 50 witnesses, including former health secretary Matt Hancock, and leading figures among government science and medical advisers.
It uncovered that some of the worst early failings were caused by a “groupthink” between ministers and scientists resulting in “fatalism”, according to Greg Clark, the chair of the science and technology committee.
The report also criticised the low level of protection in care homes and for minority ethnic groups and people with learning disabilities.