Many of Rishi’s objections to lockdown, explained in his big Spectator interview this morning, have gone down pretty well with government sources. This morning, Guido reported how one senior government advisor — in post at the time — agrees with Rishi’s criticism of the government’s decision to hand huge power to anonymous and unaccountable scientific advisors, who then pressured ministers to make hasty decisions with limited information. Whilst many sources disagree with some of Rishi’s more lockdown-sceptic policy views, his criticism of the decision-making process by which those policies were reached are more widely supported. Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings, however, are not playing ball…
Former comms director Lee Cain argues that whilst he is a “huge admirer” of Rishi, “his position on lockdown is simply wrong. It would have been morally irresponsible of the govt not to implement lockdown in spring 2020.”
In addition, without lockdown the NHS simply could not have survived & would have been overwhelmed. This would have seen an even greater backlog of excess deaths for missed cancer appointments etc— Lee Cain (@MrLeeCain) August 25, 2022
Dominic Cummings is, characteristically, less diplomatic. Taking on Twitter he says, “the Sunak interview is dangerous rubbish, reads like a man whose epicly bad campaign has melted his brain & he’s about to quit politics. Also pins blame *unfairly* on 🛒 & others”. A very rare defence of Boris. He ominously promises more blogging on the topic later…
The Sunak interview is dangerous rubbish, reads like a man whose epicly bad campaign has melted his brain & he’s about to quit politics. Also pins blame *unfairly* on 🛒 & others. Will blog laterhttps://t.co/PG0YLZq5cZ— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) August 25, 2022
Guido has also received another criticism of Rishi from a government source: “Rishi is forgetting is that he was in all the core meetings — so he was in the quad when decisions were made — it was the rest of cabinet who were shut out … I don’t recall him ever suggesting they widen out the meetings.”
By and large, however, there’s a lot of government agreement with Rishi. One source says numerous ministers complained about a lack of papers being provided to them — not just on COVID. Guido’s source reports ministers would find themselves analysing papers at the during a meeting, when their time should have been spent listening to the meeting’s chair. Another source says they “remember Coffey and Shapps kicking off one COVID-Zero meeting about having only received a crucial policy paper less than five mins before the meeting started … It was not a good way to run the country”.