THE BBC will show political editor Laura Kuenssberg’s one-hour interview with the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser tomorrow night.
Dominic Cummings quit his Downing Street role last winter and has since heavily criticised the UK Government’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Giving evidence to MPs in May, the former Vote Leave chief said Boris Johnson is “unfit for the job”, had ignored scientific advisers and delayed lockdown decisions.
Cummings said the Prime Minister wanted to be like “the mayor in Jaws” who kept the beaches open despite repeated gory shark attacks, by letting business continue through the pandemic.
“Tens of thousands of people died, who didn’t need to die,” Cummings told the committee during the seven-hour session.
His one-hour interview with the BBC’s political editor comes as Johnson’s government scraps the vast majority of legal Covid-19 restrictions, including ending mask wearing and social distancing.
What is Dominic Cummings’s connection to Laura Kuenssberg?
Kuenssberg’s interview with Cummings will be shown on BBC Two from 7pm tomorrow night. According to the journalist the programme will focus on his role in the Government during the coronavirus crisis, his relationship with Johnson and his role in the UK leaving the EU.
During Cummings’s appearance at the joint Health and Science Committee earlier this year, he touched on his relationship with Kuenssberg during his time in Downing Street.
He told MPs that Kuenssberg was his main point of contact during the pandemic, having “unauthorised” discussions with her to keep her up to date on what was going on in government.
Cummings’s role did not involve a lot of talking to the media, he said. “The main person really though that I spoke to in the whole of 2020 was Laura Kuenssberg at the BBC, because the BBC has a special position in the country, obviously during a crisis.
“Because I was in the room for certain crucial things, I could give guidance to her on certain very big stories.”
He gave the example of a rumour that the Government was to seal off London with tanks on the M25. Kuenssberg called to ask if it was true, and he informed the journalist it “categorically” was not.
The pair spoke around every three or four weeks on major news, he claimed. Doing this while other reporters did not have access to Number 10 insiders “drove the media mad”, he claimed.
The BBC cut away from its live feed of the committee hearing as Cummings discussed his working relationship with Kuenssberg.
— BBC (@BBC) July 19, 2021
When the story broke last year that Cummings was under fire for travelling to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown, Kuenssberg came under fire for appearing to jump to his defence.
Responding to The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar within an hour of the story being published, Kuenssberg said: “Source says his trip was within guidelines as Cummings went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare while he and his wife were ill – they insist no breach of lockdown.”
“This is indisputably, irrefutably the BBC political editor rushing to the defence of Boris Johnson’s top aide,” commented Ross McCafferty.
George Turner tweeted: “I generally think that the criticism of Laura Kuenssberg is absurd, but it is a bit odd for the BBC political editor to be rebutting another journalist’s story with an unnamed source.”