Rishi Sunak allegedly shared concerns about Boris Johnson’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic while the Prime Minister delayed implementing a second lockdown, according to Dominic Cummings.
The former powerful Number 10 aide told people on his subscription Substack page that the chancellor was not the lockdown-sceptic he was made out to be and that “Sunak’s view” last autumn is that there was “no plan” from Johnson.
Cummings notably did not once insult or blame Sunak or Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove for the government’s Covid failings during his epic seven-hour committee hearing last month.
Some speculated that he was angling to try and get a future job with either of the two senior ministers.
The pair are the frontrunners to eventually take over as Tory leader after Johnson.
“Sunak did NOT oppose first lockdown,” Cummings wrote today.
“When I/Vallance/Warner pushed to ditch Plan A and move faster, Sunak supported me and developed furlough which was crucial for that emergency.
“September decision not to act seriously was a PM decision against advice of scientists, data team, me and others in No10, it wasn’t a Cabinet decision or ‘cos (sic) of Sunak’.
“Sunak’s view was the same as all serious people July-Oct: there is no plan, just a trolley smashing side to side.”
Sunak was widely reported last year to be one of the more hawkish senior cabinet members when it came to Covid restrictions.
His Eat Out to Help Out scheme last August, which saw the government subsidise some restaurant meals for a month, was blamed by some for increasing Covid infections.
Warwick University researchers argued it increased Covid-19 cases by between 8 and 17 per cent.