‘No relation to reality’: PM Johnson dismisses ex-aide Cummings’ claims that his inept rule led to thousands of Covid-19 deaths

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Boris Johnson shot back at the explosive revelations of former aide Dominic Cummings, who blamed the prime minister for thousands of Covid-related deaths. Some of his comments have no “relation to reality,” Johnson says.

On Thursday, Johnson defended himself amid the fallout from his former aide’s testimony.

Some of the commentary I’ve heard doesn’t bear any relation to reality.

Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s top adviser until late last year, made an appearance before a Commons committee on Wednesday. His testimony came as part of a parliamentary inquest into the government’s handling of the pandemic.

During his seven-hour testimony, Cummings made a series of allegations about Johnson’s leadership, claiming that his sloppy approach to the pandemic and inaction resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths.

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Johnson rejected the allegations, insisting he and his government did their best to tackle the crisis.

“No, I don’t think so, but of course this has been an incredibly difficult series of decisions, none of which we’ve taken lightly,” Johnson said when asked whether he agreed with Cummings’ assessment of his leadership. “We’ve been governed by a determination to protect life to save life, to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed.”

We’ve followed to the best we can, the data and the guidance that we’ve had. 

The bitter comments from Cummings came several months after he left his position as top adviser to the prime minister. According to media reports, his departure was the result of internal disputes between various parliamentary factions.

In recent weeks, Cummings has repeatedly attacked his former boss publicly, raising questions about Johnson’s “competence and integrity” in managing the coronavirus crisis. In his parliamentary testimony, he claimed the prime minister even considered publicly injecting himself with the coronavirus to reassure the public that it was not dangerous. The claim has been disputed by several top officials, who insist that they never heard Johnson mentioning such an outlandish idea.

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In terms of absolute figures, the UK remains one of the worst coronavirus-hit nations in Europe, with its all-time tally dwarfed only by France. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the UK has registered nearly 4.5 million cases of the disease, with more than 128,000 people succumbing to it. The situation seems to have improved in recent weeks, with London considering a full reopening of the economy by late June.

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