Alastair Campbell savages ‘liar and hypocrite’ Dominic Cummings and calls for Boris Johnson to start leading

Alastair Campbell savages both Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson. Photograph: Sky.

Alastair Campbell savages both Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson. Photograph: Sky. - Credit: Archant

Former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell has savaged Boris Johnson over his failure to lead the country, and branded those around him 'liars and hypocrites'.

In a fiery exchange on Sky News, The New European's editor-at-large said that he was providing a reaction 'on behalf of the millions and millions of people who had abided by the rules'.

He said the explanation from Downing Street was 'guff' that Cummings had 'special circumstances', pointing to an earlier on-air remark that 'it seemed there is one law for who make the laws and another for those who are meant to obey them'.

'It is all of a piece with the arrogance and elitism of these people who won power by pretending to be on the side of the people against some sort of elite,' he told the presenter.

'This is far worse than Neil Ferguson and Catherine Calderwood, they weren't infecting anybody'.

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He continued: 'This is a man who ran out of Downing Street, communicating a sense of panic, his wife has written for the Spectator and broadcast on the BBC about their 'London lockdown',

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'And it turns out they were lying the whole time about where they were, what they were doing'.

He added: 'Boris Johnson will try to keep him because it does expose what kind of liars and hypocrites they are'.

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Campbell said he could not believe that Dominic Cummings and his wife Mary Wakefield, who he says are 'in the top 1% of earners', could not find anyone else to look after his children than his parents 264 miles away in Durham.

'It is guff to suggest this is the only way this couple could have their child properly looked after.

'They have other family in London.'

After the presenter queried his use of 'guff', he explained: 'I don't think people would mind if they thought this was a competent government, who was on top of this crisis, that hadn't seen tens of thousands people dying while these people were telling us to run our lives.

'But when they see such incompetence on top of this line, and the hypocrisy at the heart of it, please don't ask me to pretend that the country should be worrying about Dominic Cummings and Mary Wakefield, they're in the top 1% of earners in the country, that they couldn't find someone who couldn't look after their son. That is what I mean by guff'.

Asked whether it was the 'right time' to remove Boris Johnson's senior adviser, Campbell sighed.

'I really don't care about that, he's a political adviser.'

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He continued: 'It's time for Boris Johnson to do his job, his job is to lead the country. The fact we're even talking about Dominic Cummings... We hardly ever see Boris Johnson, he goes to Prime Minister Question's when he can't get out of it. I can't remember the last time he went to one of his wretched briefings. Heaven help the poor minister who sent out to do it today.

'He is not a leader, he's not leading in a crisis, and what happens when that happens, you get a vacuum.

'If you had a half decent prime minister whose heart was in the right place, and a competent set of cabinet ministers, nobody would give a damn about Dominic Cummings.

'It's the fact these people are so incompetent that it matters so much'.

When the presenter queried what was meant by saying the prime minister's heart wasn't in the right place, the former adviser to ex-prime minister Tony Blair responded: 'These people won power by pretending to be on the side of the people, and they're not.'

He added: 'If he was genuinely motivated by getting this country through this crisis, in which tens of thousands of people have died - way more than he's admitting, then he would be out on the front line every day leading this. Instead he hides away, so I repeat I do not believe his heart is in the right place'.

Campbell called for Johnson to 'show a bit of leadership', adding that he had been 'very badly let down' by Cummings.

But he also referred to a tweet from BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg in which she said that a small number of people were aware of where the special adviser was, 'if that's the case Johnson has questions to answer on his own conduct as well'.

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