Downing Street is braced for more explosive revelations from the UK Prime Ministers former chief advisor Dominic Cummings as he makes a much-anticipated appearance before MPs on Wednesday.
Mr Cummings has been vocal in his condemnation of Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and others since leaving Government after a behind-the-scenes power struggle in November.
Ahead of giving evidence to the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees, Mr Cummings set out his criticisms of the UK governments approach to the pandemic in a thread of 60-messages on Twitter, claiming the original response to the coronavirus outbreak was to pursue a strategy of herd immunity.
In a series of explosive tweets, he said the policy, to build up resistance in the population by allowing some spread of the disease, was only dropped in March last year after a warning it would lead to a catastrophe.
Multiple Cabinet ministers have denied this was the case, and the UK Prime Ministers official spokesman told reporters: Herd immunity from infection has never been government policy.
The spokesman added: At all times we have been guided by the data and the latest evidence we have had through this coronavirus pandemic.
He added: As our understanding of the virus progressed, more data became available, it was clear that a national lockdown was needed to suppress the curve, save lives and protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.
When he last appeared before MPs in March, Mr Cummings said the Department of Health and Social Care was reduced to a smoking ruin by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of Wednesdays session, ITVs Robert Peston reported on Tuesday that Mr Cummings will allege Johnson said Covid is only killing 80-year-olds in a bid to delay the autumn lockdown.
Downing Street did not deny Mr Johnson made the remarks, but when asked about the report said: There is a huge task for this Government to get on with.
We are entirely focused on recovering from the pandemic, moving through the road map and distributing vaccines while delivering on the publics priorities.
Throughout this pandemic, the Governments priority has been to save lives, protect the NHS and support peoples jobs and livelihoods across the United Kingdom.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the alleged comments were utterly disgraceful.
Mr Cummings has also hit out at various parts of the UK governments response, despite being employed by No 10 for a large part of the pandemic.
He dubbed the policy at the UKs borders a joke and said: The Covid plan was supposed to be world class but turned out to be part disaster, part non-existent.
In his series of tweets earlier this week he slammed alleged secrecy in government plans and said mass testing should have been developed much earlier.
And he was insistent herd immunity to build up resistance in the population by allowing some spread of the disease was the governments original plan before ministers were told this would lead to catastrophe.
No 10 also faced questions after a Sunday Times report suggested officials fear Mr Cummings will use his appearance before MPs to accuse Mr Johnson of missing key meetings on the crisis because he was working on a biography of Shakespeare, because he needed the money to fund his divorce from Marina Wheeler, his second wife.
Asked if Johnson had spent time on the book, his official spokesman said: No, not that Im aware of.
Mr Johnson has been ensuring the public are kept as protected as possible during this global pandemic, the spokesman added.
The relationship between Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings is thought to have soured after a briefing war over the so-called chatty rat leak of plans for a second lockdown.
No 10 accused Mr Cummings of a series of damaging leaks, including text message exchanges between Mr Johnson and the entrepreneur Sir James Dyson.
But the claim led Mr Cummings to post an incendiary blog post with a number of damaging allegations against the PM.
Mr Cummings evidence session takes place a day after the anniversary of his sensational press conference in No 10s rose garden, where he sought to justify breaking lockdown rules with a trip to County Durham and Barnard Castle in late March 2020.
PA Media

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