Dominic Cummings has threatened to release “a crucial historical document” detailing Boris Johnson’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as he hit out at UK Government secrecy for fuelling the “catastrophe” of last year’s pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s former chief adviser said the Covid plan was meant to be “world class”, but turned out to be “part disaster, part non-existent”.
Ahead of a Commons appearance next week, Mr Cummings asked on Twitter whether he should auction the document for a coronavirus victims’ charity, publish it or hand it to the MPs who will be quizzing him.
He later deleted the tweet.
After denouncing Britain’s border controls against importing the virus as a “joke”, Mr Cummings stepped up his attack on Mr Johnson’s handling of the health emergency.
He wrote on Twitter: “One of the most fundamental & unarguable lessons of Feb-March is that secrecy contributed greatly to the catastrophe. Openness to scrutiny wd have exposed Gvt errors weeks earlier than happened.”
Mr Cummings, who was forced out of Downing Street last year after an acrimonious power struggle, queried why MPs were accepting the “lack of a public plan now” over the response to new variants.
“The best hedge re a variant escaping current vaccines is public scrutiny of Gvt plans,” he wrote.
“This will hopefully show it’s been taken seriously. If not, better learn now that the Gvt has screwed up again than when ‘variant escapes’ news breaks.”
Mr Cummings suggested the Government could make 99 per cent of vaccine plans public as national security concerns are “almost totally irrelevant to the critical parts of the problem”.
He also suggested that vaccines could have been developed faster if “human challenge” trials, where volunteers are deliberately infected with the virus, had begun immediately.
That could have meant “jabs in arms [in the] summer”, he said, but the vaccine taskforce was wrongly “constrained”.
Human challenge trials only started this year, but the development of vaccines was rapid in comparison with work on jabs for other diseases.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I’m not going to speculate about what information individuals may or may not choose to present at committees.”
Rejecting Mr Cummings’ suggestion that border policy was a “joke”, he said: “We have some of the strongest border measures in the world.”
The spokesman added: “We have a very clear approach to dealing with variants. You are seeing that in real time with surge-testing and providing additional vaccination.”
On the suggestion that vaccine trials should have begun earlier, the spokesman replied: “There are a number of individuals who have views on actions by the government during the course of this pandemic.”
The intervention by Mr Cummings comes as Mr Johnson said it would be a few days before the government could draw any conclusions about whether to deviate from England’s current road map out of lockdown.
The government plans to end the remaining legal limits on social contact in England by June 21.
There is increasing concern about the spread of the Indian variant, with the strain also having been linked to a rise in Covid cases north of the border in Glasgow.