Dominic Cummings tells MPs it was ‘crazy’ that he and Boris Johnson had so much power during Covid pandemic – live | Politics
Greg Clark is asking the questions now.
Q: Did you engage in unauthorised briefings?
Cummings says generally he did not engage with the media. He says that drove the media mad, because in the past people in his position had not done that.
But he says he did speak to Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, in 2020. That was because of the special status of the BBC, he says. He says he generally spoke to her every three or four weeks.
As an example, he says on 18 March there were rumours of a London-only lockdown, with the military involved. He spoke to Kuenssberg to tell her this was not true.
Q: Were your briefings unauthorised?
Cummings says they were, in the sense that he did not get permission from the PM first.
Clark asks if Cummings will release his messages to journalists. Cummings says he does not see why people should have to reveal all their dealings with journalists.
Q: But you have committed to publishing other messages? If these briefings were designed to be helpful, will you share them with the committee?
Cummings says most of these dealings were conversations, so there is nothing to share.
He says if all dealings with journalists were to be published, that would be a very big change. He asks Clark if he would publish all his WhatsApp messages to journalists.
Clark says Cummings is the one talking about transparency. So will you share your text messages.
Cummings says he may have very little.
That will make it easier, says Clark.
Cummings says anything with a direct bearing on decisions made and mistakes made he might share.
Clark says the committee can be the judge of that.
Cummings says he will not hand over his phone. But he will share some messages with the committee.
He also says journalists themselves expect these changes to be private.
Clark says the committee will rely on his candour.
Cummings says he will need to check the messages for the public inquiry anyway, so he will see what he can do to help.
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