Mr Cummings was as soon as Mr Johnson’s closest ally, however is now his sworn enemy. He is amongst quite a lot of former Number 10 insiders who will face questions at the COVID inquiry this week.
By Jon Craig, Chief political correspondent @joncraig
The COVID public inquiry is set to turn out to be explosive this week, with former Boris Johnson aide Dominic Cummings anticipated to dish the dirt on the previous prime minister.
The maverick former No 10 adviser, as soon as Mr Johnson‘s closest ally however now his sworn enemy, heads a listing of high former Downing Street insiders giving proof this week.
The ghost-like determine of Mr Cummings is due to give proof on Halloween, prompting claims that he’ll face haunting questions on every little thing from “partygate” to lockdowns.
The No 10 insiders being quizzed embrace former personal secretary Martin Reynolds, nicknamed “party Marty” after writing a infamous “bring your own booze” e mail to Downing Street workers.
Mr Reynolds is the primary witness this week, adopted in the afternoon by former director of communications Lee Cain, a former tabloid journalist who now calls himself an skilled in disaster administration.
Mr Cummings takes centre stage on Tuesday, in a session of proof anticipated to be as sensational as his marathon public look earlier than a committee of MPs two years in the past.
Then he claimed Mr Johnson initially didn’t take COVID critically and adjusted his thoughts 10 occasions a day and that former well being secretary Matt Hancock ought to have been sacked for mendacity.
He additionally admitted that his personal controversial journey to Barnard Castle, in County Durham, when he had COVID in 2020 – and his much-ridiculed declare that it was to check his eyesight – had been a “terrible mistake”.
‘This week actually issues’
This week Mr Cummings is predicted to launch additional brutal assaults on Mr Johnson, in addition to the previous PM’s spouse Carrie, Mr Hancock and cupboard secretary Simon Case.
Mr Case will probably be a notable absentee in the course of the present spherical of proof classes, on how choices have been made in authorities, as he’s at present away from work on sick go away.
This week’s hearings are additionally anticipated to see the publication of embarrassing WhatsApp messages despatched between key Downing Street figures together with Mr Cummings and Mr Johnson.
A variety of damaging WhatsApps have already been launched to the inquiry, together with how Mr Johnson described lengthy COVID as “b*******” and that his spouse, Carrie, had been described as “the real person in charge” by Mr Case.
Last week it was additionally revealed that scientific advisers had referred to Rishi Sunak – who was then the chancellor – as “Dr Death” following the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
In addition, the previous Conservative chancellor, George Osborne, has claimed “disgusting and misogynistic” WhatsApp messages despatched by Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings will probably be launched this week.
Sunak and Johnson anticipated to attend inquiry
Previewing this week’s proof on the Politics at Jack & Sam’s podcast, Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates mentioned: “What goes to occur this week actually issues, not least as a result of there are people who find themselves at the guts of this inquiry who’re nonetheless in authorities.
“I perceive that Rishi Sunak is probably going to seem earlier than the COVID inquiry in December, probably 11th December. Boris Johnson will seem round then too.
“But the large determine who’s going to come out, probably the worst of all people from the proof that we hear over the subsequent few days, is somebody who’s at present off sick. That’s the cupboard secretary, Simon Case.
“We’re going to see extra WhatsApp messages between him and people two key political advisers, Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings, which mainly inform a narrative of how, at the height of the pandemic when there was chaos by way of 2020, you had these two key figures together with the cupboard secretary complaining about and to a point working in opposition to the prime minister who employs all three of them.”
Coates added: “What you may hear this week from figures like Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, however notably Dominic Cummings, is loads of score-settling. Quite a lot of assaults on Boris Johnson, assaults on Matt Hancock, assaults on bits of the civil service, the Cabinet Office, that weren’t working.
“But if you step back, what you really see is a completely dysfunctional No 10, with the prime minister on one side and his closest advisers seemingly working against him.”
Read extra from Sky News:
Matt Hancock talks about ‘injustice’ he confronted throughout COVID
Humza Yousaf says in-laws are alive in Gaza however with out water
This is a restricted model of the story so sadly this content material just isn’t accessible.
Open the total model
Other witnesses giving proof this week embrace:
• Imran Shafi, former personal secretary to the prime minister;
• Helen MacNamara, former deputy cupboard secretary;
• Lord Stevens of Birmingham, who as Sir Simon Stevens was boss of NHS England;
• Sir Christopher Wormald, everlasting secretary of the Department of Health and Social Care;
• Professor Yvonne Doyle, former director for well being safety at Public Health England.
Cummings has shunned use of lawyer
This week’s hearings are doubtless to solid the highlight on a time which was important for the nation however expose what went on behind the door of Downing Street, with revelations which might be positive to be capitalised upon by Labour.
After the examples of “laddish, football-style” banter between Mr Case and Mr Cain, it’s understood there are doubtless to be additional such examples this week, which could possibly be extremely damaging to Mr Case’s place.
Sky News additionally understands that in getting ready for his testimony, Mr Cummings, the previous chief adviser to the prime minister, has shunned the usage of a lawyer, which may go away him uncovered to challenges to his testimony from different witnesses.