Dominic Cummings explains why Boris Johnson didn't do Andrew Neil interview

Boris Johnson is interviewed by Andrew Neil. 

Boris Johnson is interviewed by Andrew Neil. - Credit: BBC

Dominic Cummings has explained why Tory officials prevented Boris Johnson from being interviewed by Andrew Neil during the 2019 general election.

In the latest of his sustained war of words with his once long-standing ally, Cummings claimed the prime minister is a "gaffe machine" who is "clueless" on policy.

During the 2019 December election campaign, Johnson dodged a one-on-one interview on the BBC with Neil, who is now chairman of GB News.

The Conservative Party leader was accused of “running scared” from scrutiny by avoiding in-depth questioning from the veteran broadcaster, even though rival leaders had taken part.

Cummings claims to reveal the strategy behind this in a Twitter rant against political pundits, writing: “Pundits: not doing ANeil ‘a huge campaign blunder’.

“Me: why the f*** wd be put a gaffe machine clueless about policy & government up to be grilled for ages, upside=0 for what?! This is not a hard decision.”

Asked about Cummings’ latest remarks, a Downing Street spokesman said: “Of course that is not a characterisation that we would accept.

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“But I’m not going to get into specific allegations.”

The former aide’s comments are the latest salvo in a bitter row between him, Johnson and the health secretary, who Cummings blames for many failings during the crisis.

Johnson has insisted he has full confidence in Hancock after his former aide used a blog post earlier this week to publish private text messages from the early stage of the pandemic.

“I have complete confidence in Matt and indeed all of the government who have been dealing with Covid throughout the pandemic,” the prime minister told reporters on Friday.

“I think that when you look at the vaccine rollout that has been delivered by the NHS it is absolutely outstanding.”

Cummings, who left Downing Street in November during a power struggle, used a blog post to accuse Johnson of publicly supporting the “fiction” that he has been in agreement with Hancock throughout the crisis.

The former chief aide argued the messages showed otherwise, as did moves by the prime minister to carve up some of the health secretary’s responsibilities and hand them to others.

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