Johnson asked if blowing hairdryer up nose could ‘kill COVID’, Cummings claims

Politics

Boris Johnson asked his most senior scientific advisers if blowing a “special hair dryer” up your nose could kill COVID, according to Dominic Cummings.

Mr Cummings’s full evidence statement to the COVID inquiry has been revealed, following his blockbuster in-person grilling on Tuesday.

In the document, which runs for more than 100 pages, Mr Johnson‘s former chief of staff – who has since become a vocal critic of the former prime minister – outlines a number of uncomplimentary scenarios which he says occurred at the top of government.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Lemonheads Barber shop during a visit to Lemon Street Market in Truro, Cornwall to see how they are preparing to reopen ahead of Step 2 of the roadmap on Monday 12 April. Picture date: Wednesday April 7, 2021.
Image:
The then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a barber shop in April 2021


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Mr Cummings wrote: “A low point was when he circulated a video of a guy blowing a special hair dryer up his nose ‘to kill COVID’ and asked [Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance] what they thought.”

The video has since been removed from YouTube, according to Mr Cummings.

Mr Cummings also claims that, within Downing Street, there was uncertainty about whether the prime minister himself was “the source of false stories”.

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The former adviser raises a story that claimed the government “had brought in masks because of focus groups even though we knew they didn’t work.”

This was “the opposite of the truth”, according to Mr Cummings.

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Key WhatsApp messages from the COVID inquiry
Johnson: COVID was ‘nature’s way of dealing with old people’

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Cummings says PM was known as a ‘trolley’

Mr Cummings recounts how, in autumn 2020, Mr Johnson was “sick of COVID” and wanted it “off the front pages”.

He also claimed Mr Johnson asked him to come up with a “dead cat” strategy – in which a distracting story is used in an attempt to switch the focus of journalists.

The adviser, who worked with Mr Johnson on the Brexit campaign, says he told the prime minister “no campaign could ‘dead-cat COVID”.

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Mr Cummings also suggested that Mr Johnson was distracted during the early phase of the pandemic.

His statement said: “He had a divorce to finalise and was grappling with financial problems from that plus his girlfriend’s spending plans for the No 10 flat (which he raised repeatedly from early January).

“An ex-girlfriend was making accusations about him in the media.

“His current girlfriend wanted to finalise the announcement of their engagement.

“He said he wanted to work on his Shakespeare book.”

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