Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he did not watch all of Dominic Cummings’ testimony to MPs because he was “dealing with getting the vaccination rollout going, especially to over-30s, and saving lives”.

Mr Hancock came in for repeated attacks by the prime minister’s former adviser during a seven-hour long committee hearing.

Mr Cummings told how he believed the health secretary should have been sacked repeatedly, for “at least 15-20 things including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet room and publicly”.

He accused Mr Hancock of failing to protect people in care homes after saying he had a plan.

And Mr Cummings went on to say: “I certainly think Matt Hancock used Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance as shields for himself.”

During his evidence, he added: “If we don’t fire the secretary of state… we are going to kill people and it’s going to be a catastrophe.”

Earlier this evening a spokesperson for Mr Hancock said he “has worked incredibly hard in unprecedented circumstances to protect the NHS and save lives”.

The spokesperson added: “We absolutely reject Mr Cummings’ claims about the health secretary.”

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