Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Edited by Johanna Howitt

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Cummings criticises 'terrible' timetable for Covid public inquiry

    Dominic Cummings says the idea that an official inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic won't get under way until next spring is "completely terrible".

    "Tens of thousands of people died who didn't need to die," he says.

    "There is absolutely no excuse for delaying that, because a lot of the reasons for what happened are still in place now - look at the whole debate about variants."

  2. Cummings questioned over PM's tolerance of death projections

    Dominic Cummings is asked whether the PM was "OK" with a death toll over over 500,000 under the government's initial Covid strategy.

    He replies that Boris Johnson was aware that the official plan involved achieving herd immunity by September.

    He says the "real numbers" of what that strategy would involve were made clear at a meeting on 14 March, when it was decided the situation would be "intolerable" and a different approach was needed.

    But he says the "conventional wisdom" at that stage was still that changing the strategy at that point could result in even more deaths.

  3. Analysis

    Barnard Castle trip apology not enough to restore Cummings' credibility

    Leila Nathoo

    BBC political correspondent

    Dominic Cummings said he was revealing a big missing piece of the puzzle in his explanation of his infamous lockdown trip to Durham – security threats against his family – because, long after leaving government, today was the day to get "the whole terrible thing out".

    He admitted the initial handling and version of the story – with his notorious press conference in the Downing Street rose garden - had been disastrous.

    He said "pottering on the road for 30 miles" - the trip he said he made to test his eyesight - has seemed reasonable at the time, given that he was about to drive hundreds of miles from Durham to London.

    But for many of his detractors – a belated explanation, an apology for the ‘whole debacle’ plus digging in over the subsequent drive to Barnard Castle – won’t be enough to restore his credibility.

  4. Vaccines could still have been sorted faster - Cummings

    Health Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt says "the big thing that went right" was the vaccine programme. He asks what went right for the vaccines, rather than everything else that was dealt with.

    "Fundamentally, on vaccines, there was clear responsibility, there was someone in charge of it," Cummings states. He says Kate Bingham - the head of the UK Vaccines Taskforce "has the strength of character not to be pushed around".

    "We only really got [vaccines] going... in March," he states, "like lots of other things, there's no doubt that we could have done this faster than we did".

    He says he was being told new mRNA vaccines "could well smash the conventional wisdom" on how quickly vaccines can be generated.

    He says the EU vaccination programme was "bogged down by EU bureaucracy" which is why he advised the government not to sign up to it.

  5. Cummings: PM was 'like a shopping trolley' changing direction

    Cummings says there was "a centre of gravity that agreed with me" in No 10 but the PM "just wouldn't do it" when it came to various decisions.

    He says the problem was not that he couldn't persuade other people of his views.

    He says "everyone was screaming" about the need for an effective quarantine policy to be put in place that the government would stick to but there was a situation where the PM changed his mind according to what newspapers were saying.

    Boris Johnson was "like a shopping trolley" he said, swinging from one side to the other.

  6. PM and I fundamentally disagreed over Covid, says Cummings

    Asked why didn't raise his concerns about the Covid strategy during his rose garden press conference, Dominic Cummings says at the time he had been focused on trying to get the official plan changed internally.

    He reveals he thought about quitting over the summer but was persuaded to stay. He says he was "probably right” not to quit in March, and “definitely wrong” not to resign in September.

    He says that if "I could have clicked my fingers and done things" the UK would have had a mandatory mask rules and a more restrictive borders policy, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock would have been replaced.

    He says that "fundamentally" he and Boris Johnson were at odds over Covid policy, he "did not win" major arguments, despite the fact the cabinet secretary and the chancellor agreed with him.

    "But the PM just wouldn't do what we advised," he adds.

  7. Cummings asked why he didn't apologise before now?

    Cummings says stories about him subsequently leaving London in the wake of the trip are "categorically false".

    Asked why he has not said all this before, he says it didn't "seem like a sensible thing to do" whilst he was still in post - and didn't want to draw attention to himself after that.

  8. Cummings: I thought 'I might die'

    Jeremy Hunt asks why Cummings moved his family back to London if he was so worried about the threat to their personal safety.

    Cummings says he had been lying in bed in Durham "thinking I might die".

    "I was extremely ill" he says and "could hardly walk 50 metres".

    He says if it had been up to "him, he would have preferred his wife and child to stay in Durham but his wife would not agree to this because she was so worried about his health.

    "The PM had literally nearly just died", he says, and he returned to London with his family because he was trying to do the right thing.

  9. Breaking'I am extremely sorry for the whole thing' - Cummings

    Asked why he did not apologise during the rose garden press conference, Dominic Cummings says that he thought, for the reasons he has explained, his behaviour was reasonable at the time.

    "The truth at the time was, no, I wasn't sorry for moving them out of London."

    "I thought it was the right thing to do but I was trapped in only telling part of the story."

    "Obviously I am extremely sorry about the way the whole thing worked out," he says.

    He adds he had to move his family out of the house twice further due to problems.

  10. Rose garden press conference a 'total disaster'

    Dominic Cummings says the prime minister was under political pressure and he had to explain something, which led to the press conference in the No 10 rose garden.

    "What I said was true but I left out the crucial part of it all and the whole thing was a total disaster," he says.

    He says it was a terrible misjudgment not to explain the situation and it undermined public confidence.

  11. It had already been decided I would move out of London - Cummings

    Dominic Cummings says on 22 March there was a story about a fake quote from him which said he was "quite happy for everyone to die, which led to further problems".

    He says it had already been decide that he was going to move back out of London regardless of the Covid rules.

    "Because of this we kept the whole thing quiet," he says.

    He agreed with the prime minister to stonewall the story due to the security concerns.

    He says lots of the media stories were wrong, including reports police had spoken to him about Covid rules as they had only spoken to him for security reasons.

  12. Cummings: I had to move my family due to security threats

    Cummings

    Luke Evans asks Mr Cummings about his "infamous trip" to Barnard Castle, and asks where he draws the line between his own responsibility and how he conducts himself in government.

    Cummings says that whole episode was a major disaster for the government" and for policy.

    He says in the autumn of 2019 he had to move out of his house due to security threats for six weeks.

    "On 28 February when I was dealing with the Covid problem I was down in Westminster when my wife called and said there was a gang of people outside saying they were going to break into the house and kill everybody inside, she was alone in the house at the time", he says.

  13. Analysis

    Cummings' care homes regret

    Leila Nathoo

    BBC political correspondent

    Cummings has saved some of his biggest regrets for the policy towards care homes – admitting the situation had been ‘completely catastrophic’ and a ‘cascading series of crises’.

    His acknowledgement that the situation of people being discharged from hospitals into care homes, with risks to staff without proper PPE or testing capacity had "fundamentally.. never properly been dug into" is completely at odds with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s claim last year that ministers had tried to throw a ‘protective ring’ round care homes from the start.

    It’s another area in which he’s taking aim at Matt Hancock – who is bearing the brunt of Cummings’ criticism.

  14. 'Bad policy' and 'bad decisions' behind poor communication - Cummings

    Luke Evans asks about the government's communication to the public, saying this is something Dominic Cummings is known for following his role with Vote Leave.

    Cummings says that there were some of the best communications people around but says "fundamentally the reason for all these problems was bad policy, bad decisions, bad planning, bad operational capability".

    "It doesn't matter if you have got great people doing communications if the prime minister changes his mind 10 times a day and then calls up the media and contradicts his policy day, after day, after day," he says.

    "You are going to have a communications disaster zone."

  15. Cummings: Care home testing 'complete chaos'

    Cummings says clearly some care home residents were tested before returning from hospital but it only happened "very partially and sporadically".

    As a result, he says people went back to care homes and infected people "and it spread like wildfire".

    He says there was a "cascading series of crises" that had "a domino effect" throughout the system.

    The problems were caused he says because of the "whole disaster over testing" and the shortage of PPE.

    Just as no-one had thought about how to produce the details on shielding, he says, the situation with care homes was the same.

    It was a "crisis environment of complete chaos" he says.

  16. Cummings: Lack of plan for care homes and shielding

    Labour's Barbara Keeley returns to the subject of care homes and asks why No 10 didn't move quickly to protect people.

    Cummings says this is because they were told untested people would not be sent back to care homes and that there was a plan for shielding.

    He says he didn't understand what was going on until April.

    Some officials said there was nothing that could be done to get all the various databases and systems to communicate with each other on shielding, he said.

    Cummings said there was a lot of shrugging when he asked what people in this situation would do for food and medicines as there "wasn't even a phone number" for them to call.

    Cummings says all the work was done "in, literal, all-nighters" to fix the system.

    Returning to the subject of care homes he denies saying it was only old people who would die and said media reports "created a terrible impression" that the government did not care.

  17. Cummings: There was 'overall total system failure'

    commitee

    Anum Qasiar-Javed asks her final question saying, as a former teacher she is used to school inspections and performance gradings. She asks Dominic Cummings how would he grade the government's performance:

    "Some individual brilliant performances, overall - system total failure", he replies.

  18. PM against a proper border policy

    Mr Cummings says after April, once the UK had switched to plan B, fundamentally there was no proper border policy "because the prime minister didn't want there to be a border policy".

    He says that Boris Johnson was "back to lockdown was all a terrible mistake, I should have been the Mayor of Jaws, we should never have done lockdown one, the travel industry will all be destroyed if we bring in a border policy".

    "To which of course some of us said 'there is not going to be a tourism industry in the autumn if there is a second wave'," he says.

    Mr Cummings says as of today we "still do not have a proper border policy in my opinion".

    In the 1970s movie 'Jaws' the mayor of city famously kept the beaches open, despite the threat.

  19. Cummings: People thought it was racist to close borders

    The SNP's Anum Qaisar-Javed asks about travel restrictions and who advised the government not to close the borders.

    Mr Cummings says that there were two phases, before April the advice was completely not to close the borders.

    "Essentially it would have no effect," he says.

    "Another groupthink thing at the time was that it was basically racist to call for closing the borders and would be blaming China and Chinese New Year and so on," he says. "That was obviously completely wrong."

  20. Cummings: PM was told people going back to care homes 'would be tested'

    Stringer moves on to the situation in care homes and asks why untested people were sent back in to care homes.

    Cummings says this was "one of the other things that we found shocking".

    He says when they realised in April this was the situation the PM asked "what on earth" had happened.

    He quotes Boris Johnson as saying 'Hancock told us in the cabinet room that people were going to be tested before they went back to care homes. What the hell happened?'

    Cummings said they "were told categorically in March that people would be tested" but he says despite the government rhetoric of putting a shield around care homes it "was complete nonsense" and quite the opposite happened.

    Graham Stringer pauses and says "that is extraordinary".