<p> Dominic Cummings</p>

Dominic Cummings

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Boris Johnson has been mocked by Dominic Cummings after he appeared to try and take credit for Matt Hancock’s resignation.

Writing on Twitter (where else?), the Prime Minister’s former adviser called Johnson a “trolley” – just as he did during his parliamentary evidence session on the government’s handling of coronavirus last month – and implied that the PM changed course due to media panic and his wife, Carrie Symonds.

In case the incident has slipped from your memory (and really, how could anyone unseethat footage?) here’s a quick timeline. On Friday, images, then footage, showing that the then Health Secretary, Matt Hancock had kissed his long-term friend and aide Gina Colangelo while social distancing measures were in place. He apologised, Johnson said he would not fire him and said the matter was closed.

On Saturday, amid continued media scrutiny and a public backlash, Hancock resigned. On Monday, during a mosey round Batley and Spen, Johnson claimed to press: “When I saw the story on Friday, we had a new secretary of state for health in on Saturday”. He insisted that “that’s about the right pace to proceed in a pandemic”. This was despite him dismissing these concerns on Friday, remember.

And Cummings was having none of it.

Cummings also claimed that Johnson and Hancock used WhatsApp to discuss coronavirus procurement with a “Tory donor network” and Downing Street officials:

He also made a dig about Johnson’s propensity for U-turns:

And muddying the already murky waters of British politics further, Johnson’s spokesman later denied that his comments suggested that Hancock had been sacked. “No, the former health secretary resigned,” he said to The Times, adding that Johnson had not asked Hancock to resign. “No, the prime minister accepted his resignation, he agreed it was the right decision.”

However, asked why it was the right decision on Saturday when the prime minister had considered the matter closed on Friday, the spokesman said: “They discussed it further and the prime minister agreed with the former health secretary that it was right for him to offer his resignation.”

Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, said: “Boris Johnson is trying to rewrite history because he didn’t have the guts to sack Matt Hancock. A fish rots from the head down, and by failing to sack the former health secretary, Johnson proved he doesn’t have the leadership qualities or judgment required to be prime minister.”

Cummings has been a vocal critic of both Johnson and Hancock as of late. Last week, while news of the affair rippled through the nation, he took the opportunity to post a blog slamming Hancock’s handling of the crisis further, and said Britain “gets Hancocked every week”.

And he hasn’t been much kinder to the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, who - in his view - will be “awful for the NHS”.

What a mess.

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