As Boris Johnson was facing the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer over the Despatch Box today, the fallout from evidence offered by his former Special Adviser, Dominic Cummings, was just beginning to be analysed.
Sir Keir began with this: “This morning, the Prime Minister’s former closest adviser said:
“When the public needed us most the Government failed.”
Does the Prime Minister agree with that?”
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, shadow boxed the answer: “The handling of this pandemic has been one of the most difficult things this country has had to do for a very long time. None of the decisions has been easy. To go into a lockdown is a traumatic thing for a country. To deal with a pandemic on this scale has been appallingly difficult. We have at every stage tried to minimise loss of life—to save lives and to protect the NHS—and we have followed the best scientific advice that we can.”
Sir Keir reminded Mr Johnson of the fact that he had defended Cummings during the pandemic when Mr Cummings broke the Covid-19 lockdown, and that this morning Mr Cummings had attacked the government by saying that senior Ministers “fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government”.
Mr Johnson carried on the path he had chosen and said these matters will be dealt with at the public inquiry which has been announced and told everyone about the vaccination programme success instead.