Whitehall’s top official recommended to Boris Johnson that Health Secretary Matt Hancock should be fired over coronavirus failings, Dominic Cummings has claimed.
The Prime Minister’s former adviser said there were around 20 reasons why Mr Hancock should have been given the sack – including, he claimed, lying both in Cabinet room meetings and publicly.
He said Mr Hancock performed “disastrously” below the standards expected and the cabinet secretary – the country’s top civil servant – had recommended the Health Secretary should be sacked.
Mr Cummings claimed that while Donald Trump was ordering the CIA to “gazump” rival countries on orders for personal protective equipment (PPE), the Department of Health was still trying to get orders from China by ship.
“I think the Secretary of State for Health should’ve been fired for at least 15, 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet room and publicly,” Mr Cummings said.
“There’s no doubt at all that many senior people performed far, far disastrously below the standards which the country has a right to expect. I think the Secretary of State for Health is certainly one of those people.
“I said repeatedly to the Prime Minister that he should be fired, so did the cabinet secretary, so did many other senior people.”
Sir Mark Sedwill was the cabinet secretary until September 2020, a period which covered the first phase of the pandemic.
Mr Cummings has previously described Mr Hancock’s department as a “smoking ruin” which could not cope with the demands of the pandemic.
“There were lots of great people in it but the procurement system which they were operating was just completely hopeless,” he said.
“There wasn’t any system set up to deal with proper emergency procurement.”
At a meeting on March 27 Mr Cummings said he was told by officials that the DHSC had been turning down ventilators because the price had been marked up – “it completely beggars belief that sort of thing was happening”.