Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

'Totally hopeless': British PM lambasted his health minister, ex-adviser says

EconomyJun 16, 2021 16:05
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dominic Cummings, former special adviser for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville 2/2

By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) -Boris Johnson's former chief adviser reignited a campaign of criticism of the government on Wednesday, publishing a text message exchange in which the British leader branded his health minister's coronavirus testing drive "hopeless".

Reuters could not independently verify whether the exchange was genuine. Prime minister Johnson's Downing Street office said it would not engage with every allegation made by Dominic Cummings, who left the office late last year.

In a blog posting, Cummings intensified his criticism of Johnson and health minister Matt Hancock over their handling of the pandemic, less than a month after accusing the government of being responsible for thousands of avoidable COVID-19 deaths.

Despite questioning Johnson's fitness for his role as prime minister and castigating the government's fight against COVID-19, Cummings' criticism has yet to seriously puncture the British leader's ratings in opinion polls.

In his posting on Wednesday, Cummings posted screenshots of the conversations, which he said were with the prime minister, in which Johnson responded to Cummings' complaints about the slow progress of Hancock's efforts with the words "Totally (blanked expletive) hopeless".

Cummings said people should ask Johnson why he had kept Hancock in his position if he thought so little of him.

Johnson's spokesman said he had not asked the prime minister directly about the new allegations, and declined to comment on the authenticity of the exchange.

"I don't plan to engage with every allegation made. The prime minister has set out that we will hold a public inquiry next year, the health secretary has given hours of evidence to the parliamentary committee and I have taken a number of questions on this issue previously," he told reporters.

"Our focus is on recovering from the pandemic, moving through the road map, distributing vaccines and delivering on the public's priorities."


The deputy leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Angela Rayner ,said the "questions raised today go to the heart of the prime minister’s direct and personal responsibility for the UK’s shocking death toll".

In seven hours of questioning by a parliamentary committee last month, Cummings had said it was "crackers" that Johnson was prime minister and aired particular disdain for Hancock, accusing him of repeatedly lying in government meetings.

Hancock rejected the allegations and some in the Conservative Party say that Cummings has an axe to grind after being forced from his post.

But in his latest blog, Cummings goes into how he remembers day-to-day decisions and underlines his criticism of the prime minister, who he accused of taking things offline "as soon as things get 'a bit embarrassing' ... before shouting 'forward to victory', doing a thumbs-up and pegging it out of the room".

He again said Johnson wanted to leave office, saying he "had a clear plan to leave at the latest a couple of years after the next election".

Johnson's spokesman quoted the prime minister's words when similar allegations were raised, calling them "utter nonsense".

'Totally hopeless': British PM lambasted his health minister, ex-adviser says

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Drake Richards
Drake Richards Jun 16, 2021 16:29
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Bozo is an absolute chump elected on a Brexit ticket and Cummings got that over the line for him as well as engineering his election victory
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email