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Cummings accuses Boris Johnson’s government of a ‘joke’ borders policy

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Monday 17 May 2021 20:18 BST
1,000 more case of Covid Indian variant in just 4 days, says Matt Hancock

Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser has taken another public swipe at the government, this time accusing it of a “joke” borders policy.

As questions mount over the action taken to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus first identified in India, Dominic Cummings accused ministers of developing policy based on “nonsense”.

Labour have accused the government of a “catastrophic misstep” and of failing to halt travel from India sooner to limit a new more virulent variant of the disease.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the UK had borders “about as secure as a sieve” as he accused ministers of ignoring warning signs a month ago.

The row came as ministers lifted some restrictions on travel to countries on the so-called “amber” list which includes Spain, France, Italy and Greece leaving health secretary Matt Hancock to call on people not to visit them without “an absolutely compelling reason”.

Those who do travel to an amber list country are required to quarantine at home for 10 days on their return.

On social media, Mr Cummings said there was a general problem “based on nonsense memes” which claimed that people in Asian countries, “all do as they’re told… it won’t work here”. This stance was what many, “behavioural science ‘experts’/charlatans argued, disastrously, in Feb 2020,” he wrote, adding: “This nonsense is STILL influencing policy, eg our joke borders policy.”

He said that both right-wing and left-wing politicians in Westminster were, “totally hostile to learning from East Asia”, to their detriment.

He also argued that it was wrong to see Sweden as a country that did not have a lockdown.

“Despite no official ‘lockdown’ behaviour changed enormously,” he wrote.

Last week, Mr Cummings was among those calling for caution over the latest lifting of the lockdown, sharing a post on social media which read, “the cost of another big wave is much higher than the cost of delaying the next stage of the roadmap”. Mr Cummings left Downing Street late last year amid reports of a bitter feud involving Mr Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

Last month he made a series of allegations against the Prime Minister, including about the refurbishment of No 10, in a blog.

He is expected to hold little back when he makes an appearance before a committee of MPs later this month.

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