he health secretary, Matt Hancock, will face MPs on Thursday over allegations made by the former senior No 10 aide Dominic Cummings to a select committee that Hancock lied to colleagues and performed “disastrously” during the Covid pandemic.
In incendiary testimony on Wednesday, Cummings singled out Hancock, saying he should have been fired for “at least 15 to 20 things – including lying to everybody on multiple occasions”. He said he had suggested this to the prime minister, as did the then cabinet secretary, Mark Sedwill.
In his evidence to MPs, Cummings accused Hancock of being obsessed with meeting a “stupid” target he set himself to offer 100,000 Covid tests a day and of diverting officials’ attention away from the task Cummings had set them to build a test-and-trace scheme from scratch capable of processing a million tests a day.
Recalling a major battle in Whitehall, Cummings said he had to call around and tell people “do not do what Hancock says, build the thing properly for the medium term”. Meanwhile, Hancock was telling them to “down tools on this” and “hold tests back so that I can hit my target” in order for him to crow about his success in TV interview.