'No relation to reality': UK PM Johnson responds to criticism by former aide on Covid-19 handling
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit back at his former adviser Dominic Cummings, who savaged his handling of the pandemic and declared he was not fit to lead the country.
Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to a hospital, Johnson said some of the comments his controversial former aide made bore no relation to “reality.”
Johnson said he would not comment when questioned over Cummings’s assertion that he said he’d rather let the “bodies pile high” than order a third national lockdown.
“I think it’s important for us to focus on what really matters to people in this country,” Johnson said. “What people want us to get on with is the road map and trying cautiously to take our country forward.”
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Johnson’s comments came after Cummings spent seven hours in Parliament on Wednesday pulling apart the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he said had failed the public and led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
The former adviser’s remarks threaten to dominate political debate in London, potentially undermining Johnson’s authority at a sensitive time. As a new Covid variant spreads across the country, the premier is trying to speed up the U.K.’s successful vaccine program to allow all remaining pandemic restrictions to be lifted from June 21.
“I don’t see anything currently in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the road map,” Johnson said.
But officials warned again on Thursday that it’s too early to tell whether the surge in cases will force the government to delay the final step in unlocking the economy next month.
“At every stage we have been governed by a determination to protect life, to safe life, to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed,” Johnson said in response to Cummings’s attacks. “We followed to the best we can the data and advice that we had.”