Dominic Cummings: Angela Rayner quizzed by Mishal Husain
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Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has been challenged over Labour’s stance following Dominic Cumming’s bombshell revelations regarding the Government’s coronavirus strategy. Ms Rayner attacked the Government’s handling of the pandemic on BBC Radio 4 in the wake of the former Downing Street advisor’s explosive testimony to MPs on Wednesday. However, BBC host Mishal Husain called out the Labour MP for shifting the party’s stance on Mr Cummings, who earlier in the year had been branded as untrustworthy.
Ms Rayner told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “People need to have confidence that the government has learnt those lessons and I am still concerned.
“Whilst we have got the variants and you know the infections still in our communities, that the government is still not acting in the public interest.
“By making sure people can self-isolate by paying them to be at home so that their wages are covered.
“By making sure that we do ensure that the surge in vaccination and testing is there when it is needed.
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She continued: “We have the debacle this week of the government giving out mixed messages around local lockdowns which we know don’t work.
“Therefore I am still really concerned that the government hasn’t learnt the lessons yet and that is what the public need to know.
“But why do you regard Dominic Cummings as very serious now when you were saying last April that no one can trust a word that he says,” interrupted Ms Husain.
“Well Dominic Cummings has made numerous allegations, we know in fact that we had the highest death toll in Europe we know that,” replied the Labour MP.
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Ms Rayner continued: “Like I say we said at the time that the Government needed to do more, whether that is through our schools for test, track and trace system.
“Whether that was through paying people to take time off.”
“Sorry,” interrupted the host, “I am just wondering again to go back to my question why do you trust him now when you didn’t last year?”
Labour’s Deputy Leader replied: “The point is that Dominic Cummings shouldn’t have the final word on this. Dominic Cummings has made serious allegations who was in the room at the time and therefore the public have a right to know the answers to these questions.”
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The remarks came as the former Downing Street advisor levelled a series of serious allegations at his former boss relating to the Government’s actions at the start of the virus outbreak.
Mr Cummings summarised the Government’s Covid strategy as being akin to “lions led by donkeys.”
He told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday: “The leadership – people like me, the PM and health secretary – we let down people on the front line.”
The former Vote Leave strategist also told politicians the fact that the electorate had been offered a choice between Mr Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn during the 2019 election had demonstrated that something was “terribly wrong”.
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