Matt Hancock has claimed the federal government has dealt with the Covid disaster “higher” since Boris Johnson’s former prime adviser Dominic Cummings left Downing Avenue final November.
The well being secretary rejected a sequence of allegations made by the ex-No 10 adviser throughout a parliamentary choose committee listening to on Thursday.
Mr Hancock stated he had “no concept” why Mr Cummings had taken towards him – and recommended he was not the one one who believes the response had been smoother because the strategist’s departure.
He added: “I feel one of the best factor to say about this – and this will probably be corroborated by numerous folks in authorities – one of the best factor to say is that authorities has operated higher previously six months.”
Mr Hancock claimed he had ‘healthful help’ of Mr Johnson all through the pandemic, and recommended Mr Cummings had engaged in press briefings towards him.
Requested if he knew Mr Cummings wished the prime minister to fireside him, the well being secretary replied: “Sure – as a result of he briefed the newspapers on the time. Any individual briefed the newspapers. I now have a greater concept of who it was.”
Mr Hancock denied mendacity to Mr Johnson, telling MPs on the joint inquiry of well being and science committees that he had all the time been pushed to behave with “honesty and integrity”.
Putting again at Mr Cummings’ claims he had “repeatedly” lied to senior officers at No 10, Mr Hancock stated: “It’s telling that no proof has been supplied but.”
Relating to Mr Cummings’s claims that he instructed Mr Johnson in March 2020 that folks being discharged to care houses can be examined, Mr Hancock stated: “We set out a coverage that folks can be examined when assessments had been accessible, after which I set about constructing the testing capability to have the ability to ship on that.”
Mr Hancock additionally instructed MPs he didn’t ever say PPE shortages had been the fault of the chancellor Rishi Sunak or NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens, and didn’t accuse them of blocking approvals.
Responding to allegations made by Mr Cummings that he had tried to shift blame, the minister stated: “That isn’t a good recollection of the state of affairs.”
He added: “Getting maintain of PPE was all the time an enormous problem, and because the Nationwide Audit Workplace have proven of their studies into this after they went via all the particulars, there was by no means some extent to which NHS suppliers couldn’t get entry to PPE, however there have been big challenges.”
On the outset of the listening to science committee chairman Greg Clark stated MPs had not obtained any written proof from Mr Cummings to again up his claims, or any rationalization as to why it had not been supplied.