Matt Hancock has Commons in stitches as MP questions why Cummings was ‘not fired sooner’

Dominic Cummings: Bone questions Hancock over timing of firing

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The Health Secretary defended himself following the extraordinary criticisms levelled at them by Dominic Cummings in the House of Commons on Thursday. Conservative MP Peter Bone described Dominic Cummings as an “unelected Spad (special adviser) who broke Covid regulations, admitted he had leaked stuff to the BBC and, by his own admission, wasn’t fit to be in Number 10 Downing Street”. Matt Hancock said he was “grateful” to Mr Bone and said government functioning has been easier in the past six months.

Mr Bone added: “The only mistake the Prime Minister made in this pandemic is he didn’t fire Dominic Cummings early enough.”

Mr Hancock replied: “I’m very grateful to my right honourable friend for that question and I’ll continue to compliment him whilst I continue to respond.”

MPs began laughing as the cabinet secretary’s comments.

He continued: “The honest truth is that from the start I’d been totally focused on how to get out of this pandemic.

“It is is absolutely true that the operation and functioning of government has got easier these last six months.

“I think all the public can see that.

“We are laser-focused on getting through this, getting our country out of it, delivering that vaccine programme that we’ve been working on for almost a year and a half which is remarkable.

“I pay tribute to all those who have been working on this effort.”

Boris Johnson hits back at Dominic Cummings' allegations

Mr Hancock said previously that the the “unsubstantiated” attacks on him by Mr Cummings are “not true”, as he fought to save his career.

The Prime Minister’s former aide accused Mr Hancock of repeatedly lying, being disastrously incompetent and claimed he should have been fired on multiple occasions during the course of the pandemic.

Forced to go to the House of Commons to respond to the claims, Mr Hancock said: “These unsubstantiated allegations around honesty are not true.

“I’ve been straight with people in public and in private throughout.”


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Answering an urgent question in the Commons, Mr Hancock said: “Every day since I began working on the response to this pandemic last January, I’ve got up each morning and asked ‘What must I do to protect life?’

“That is the job of the Health Secretary in a pandemic.

“We’ve taken an approach of openness, transparency and explanation of both what we know and of what we don’t know.”

Mr Cummings accused the Health Secretary of making a “stupid” public pledge to increase testing to 100,000 by the end of April 2020, claiming he then interfered with the building of the Test and Trace system to maximise his chances of hitting his target.

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