Dominic Cummings: Peterborough MP slams ‘ludicrous and infantile’ testimony from Prime Minister’s former chief aide on Covid pandemic

The MP for Peterborough has slammed “ludicrous and infantile” testimony from Dominic Cummings about the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 1:30 pm
Dominic Cummings. (Photo by Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool/Getty Images) SUS-200526-094003001

Paul Bristow was part of a joint select committee which questioned the Prime Minister’s former chief aide on Wednesday as it seeks to learn lessons about the pandemic.

The Conservative MP was even told off by the committee chair for relaying a swear word reportedly used to describe Mr Cummings by a member of 10 Downing Street as he questioned him during a marathon seven hour session.

Mr Cummings alleged that Boris Johnson had not taken the threat of the virus seriously, that a delay in implementing a second lockdown last autumn led to tens of thousands of extra deaths, that Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been fired, and that ministers and officials believed herd immunity was an “inevitability”.

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But responding to the testimony on Twitter, Mr Bristow posted: “The Joint Select Committee are looking at lessons to be learnt from the pandemic. Evidence yesterday from Mr Cummings was ‘headline grabbing’ and relevant on preparedness - but sullied by ludicrous analogies, an infantile world view of heroes & villains, and bitterness.”

And during an interview on talkRADIO, Mr Bristow said: “It just proved itself to be ludicrous and infantile. There were some useful parts, but it’s got to be taken with a pinch of salt I’m afraid.”

The MP, who sits on the Health and Social Care Committee, highlighted “bizarre analogies on Independence Day and Spider-Man” and suggested the evidence was tarnished by political point scoring.

He added: “There were certainly parts which were useful - the speed with which the Government is able to move was very useful. I think there are maybe points on the effectiveness of Cobra and Sage.

Paul Bristow and Boris Johnson in Peterborough pre-pandemic

“One of the useful points is how we can bring outside people into Whitehall to be listened to, and our effectiveness in planning for pandemics, which I thought was a very, very important point.

“But much of his evidence was sullied by personal backbiting and this ludicrous notion that there are heroes and villains associated with this whole thing.”

Asked if he thought the testimony would change people’s opinions, Mr Bristow responded: “No, I don’t. If you listened to and believed in its entirety Dominic Cummings’ testimony, there are those who were presumably his friends and people who he hired who were brilliant and able, and there were pantomime villains he seems to have identified as Matt Hancock and the Prime Minister. There’s no grey area.

“No one is suggesting mistakes haven’t been made. This was an unprecedented global pandemic which we’re still facing. But the idea that it’s that black and white, quite frankly, is for the birds.”

Mr Bristow also challenged some of Mr Cummings’ testimony, including his suggestion that herd immunity had been put forward during Sage meetings.