Dominic Cummings says Covid plans 'derailed' by Carrie Symonds going 'crackers' over dog & Trump wanting to bomb Iraq
A CRUCIAL Covid meeting was thrown into chaos by Boris Johnson's fiancee "going crackers" about her dog and Donald Trump's plan to bomb Iraq, Dominic Cummings sensationally claimed today.
The PM's former adviser described the "surreal" day on March 12 last year when No10 went into meltdown at a critical stage of pandemic planning.
During a dynamite appearance before MPs this morning he told how the Downing Street diary had been cleared for officials to decide whether to impose household quarantine.
But he said the talks quickly became "derailed" because the US President wanted the UK to join a bombing campaign in the Middle East.
Mr Cummings recalled: "Everything to do with Cobra that day on Covid was completely distracted because you had these two parallel sets of meetings.
"You had National Security people running in and out as we were trying to figure out if we were going to do household quarantine."
He then claimed further pandemonium erupted because Mr Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds was incensed about an article about her dog Dilyn.
Ms Symonds publicly rubbished a report at the time that claimed the couple planned to rehome the Downing Street dog, describing it as "complete c**p".
Mr Cummings said: "The PM's girlfriend was going completely crackers about this story and demanding the press office deal with that.
"So we had this completely insane situation in which part of the building was saying we had to bomb Iraq, part of the building deciding whether to do quarantine, the PM has his girlfriend going crackers about something completely trivial."
Later that day Mr Cummings said they resolved to press ahead with household quarantine, and the attorney general dissuaded the PM from sending bombers to join the US.
At the time the virus was spreading in the UK and the maverick adviser was by the PM's side at the heart of government.
He left Downing Street in December last year following a brutal power struggle with Ms Symonds.
The top aide said in an explosive evidence session today:
- The PM and other top officials were on holiday in February and missed key pandemic prep meetings
- The PM said Covid was just a "scare story" in February and thought it was "just the new swine flu"
- Cummings claimed Boris was going to get Chris Whitty to inject him live on telly with Covid to show it was "nothing to be scared of"
- No10 was distracted in the week of March 12 as Donald Trump wanted the UK to help with a bombing campaign – and Carrie wanted the press office to deal with a story about their dog, Dilyn
- Herd immunity WAS a policy until Friday 13 March when it was abandoned, he said
- It was a "catastrophic mistake" not to make data public because there wasn't scrutiny of the scientists decisions
- He accused ministers of acting too slowly as they weren't prepared and had no plans
- 'Groupthink' led to delays in lockdown, but he said he "bitterly regrets" not pushing it from the first week of March
In bombshell evidence to the joint health and science committee, the PM's former top aide accused Boris of dismissing Covid as a "scare story" and "just swine flu" and admitted he and the PM had "failed" Britain by not locking down weeks before.
He said he should have been "hitting the panic button" far earlier than he was, and the nation should have locked down in the first week of March at the very earliest.
In a scathing assessment to MPs today, he claimed Helen McNamara, the deputy cabinet secretary, came to PM’s study where Cummings was looking at his lockdown plans.
She reportedly told him: “I’ve been told for years there is a plan; there is no plan; we are in huge trouble.
"I think we are absolutely f**ked. I think this country is heading for a disaster, we are going to kill thousands of people."
Mr Cummings claimed the PM was far too slow to lock down and Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, was suggesting Boris go on telly as late as March 13 to urge the public to have 'chicken pox parties' to spread Covid and build up immunity.
The top aide, who left Government last year in a flurry of fury and briefings, said March last year was like an "out of control movie".
He said: "Imagine this is like a scene from Independence Day… your whole plan is broken and you need a new plan – that is what the scene was like."
No10 was not on a war footing fast enough and "lots of key people were skiing in the middle of February", he raged.
And ministers didn't realise the huge holes in their planning until it was too late, he claimed, and called the Cabinet office "terrifyingly s**t".
He even claimed key meetings on Covid were derailed as No10 had to deal with Donald Trump's demands to bomb Iraq – and a story about Carrie Symonds' dog – on the same day.
And Matt Hancock should have been fired "about 20 times" for "lying to everybody on multiple occasions" – and he told the PM to get rid of him.
There was no plan for furlough or for shielding until the very last minute, he said, but dodged questions on whether ministers should face corporate manslaughter charges.
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