Former deputy cabinet secretary tells Covid inquiry Hancock’s plans never materialised despite assurances
Back in the inquiry, O’Connor presents another extract from MacNamara’s witness statement in which she quotes an account by Dominic Cummings who recalls her coming into the office on Friday 13 March saying that the country was “absolutely fucked” and that thousands of people were going to die. Cummings has cited this as a very positive intervention that helped to trigger an urgent rethink.
MacNamara says this is an accurate account. She said she had been in meetings that day, including a briefing for the opposition, and that she had been “more alarmed rather than reassured” by what she had heard from the government side. She says it was alarming.
And it was a sense of foreboding, like I hope nobody sitting in that office ever has that again. Actually, it was a very, very scary experience. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind at that point that we were heading for a total disaster. And what we had to do was do everything in our power to make it impact as little as possible in the time we had available in the circumstances.
Helen right that the Cabinet Office has failed to follow the orders given in 2020 to keep records of everything. I asked for this to happen. So did Helen. Yet the Cabinet Office has destroyed a lot of documents – eg some documents that I have accidental copies of do not show up in official records.
Agree with Helen that the ‘world-beating’, ‘we’re best prepared in world’ etc mindset was a nightmare, delusional. I’d go further than has and say this general approach definitely undermined an effective response. But also important to note – this was not just Boris, this was the attitude of *DHSC and Cabinet Office* on pandemic preparations too.
MSM largely useless coverage of Inquiry, obsessed on trivia, determined as always to ignore management/structures & how power worked & still works … I’ll post updates on Inquiry, other witnesses etc
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