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Former chief advisor to the PM, Dominic Cummings, has released a number of screenshots of Whatsapp conversations between himself and senior gov't figures, including the PM, during his time in Downing St. at the start of the pandemic. The revelations are likely to be embarrassing for the PM just minutes ahead of his appearance in the House of Commons for what was already looking a tricky prime ministers' questions session.
- Livestream from top of the hour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPYI_qYHOvQ
- One of the conversations shows Cummings talking to the PM about testing capacity in March 2020, criticising Health Secretary Matt Hancock's efforts, to which the PM responds 'totally f**king hopeless'. The day after, on a point regarding ventilators the PM says 'It's Hancock. He has been hopeless.'
- A month later in April the PM texts Cummings "On ppe its a disaster" and "I can't think of anything except taking Hancock off and putting [Cabinet Office Secretary Michael] Gove on".
- Matt Hancock still serves as Secretary of State for Health and has recently received No.10's backing.
- The previous time Cummings was in the news, when delivering a marathon testimony session on the gov'ts handling of the pandemic before a House of Commons select committee, the stories made significant headlines but failed to lead to a significant change in public opinion. A similar scenario may emerge here where the blog post from Cummings and texts to the PM are pored over by Westminster watches, but do not change perceptions among much of the public.