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Boris Johnson called Matt Hancock 'totally f***ing hopeless' in leaked WhatsApp message

Boris Johnson branded Matt Hancock 'hopeless' and said he should be replaced in PPE duties by Michael Gove as Covid gripped Britain last March, bombshell texts released by Dominic Cummings have revealed.

The PM's former advisor dropped a political hand-grenade just before PMQs today by posting a stream of WhatsApp messages on his Substack email newsletter.

Number 10 did not deny that the messages are genuine.

He accused Mr Hancock and No10 of trying to "rewrite history" over the Health Secretary's actions during critical early moments during the pandemic.

And he accused Mr Hancock of "neglecting care homes and testing" throughout April, because he was "trying to focus effort on his press conference at the end of April claiming success" for his 100,000 tests a day target.

But the message dump did not include evidence that Mr Hancock had promised colleagues that all patients released into care homes would be tested first - something Mr Cummings had said he could and would prove.

Arguing the planned public inquiry into Covid-19 would be too late, he claimed Boris Johnson had a "clear plan" to quit as Prime Minister "at the latest a couple of years after the next election" - adding "he wants to make money and have fun not ‘go on and on’."

Mr Cummings also took aim at Mr Johnson's leadership style, saying he would duck out of meetings "as soon as they got a bit embarrassing.

He said: "(the PM) does the whole ''let’s take it offline'' shtick before shouting ''forward to victory'', doing a thumbs-up and pegging it out of the room before anybody can disagree'?"

In one WhatsApp message, dated March 27 last year, Mr Cummings complains the government has been turning down ventilator offers because the "price has been marked up" - to which the PM replies: "It's Hancock. He has been hopeless."

Less than an hour later, Mr Cummings complains about Matt Hancock and the lack of testing for NHS staff to which the PM replies: "Totally f***ing hopeless".

The screenshots also show three missed calls from the Prime Minister, which Mr Cummings says was the PM calling to inform him that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

In the newsletter, Mr Cummings wrote: "The missed calls are the PM calling me to say he’d tested positive and I couldn’t find my phone buzzing, we spoke minutes later."

A month later on April 27, the Prime Minister admits "on PPE it's a disaster" and adds: "I can't think of anything except taking Hancock off and putting Gove on".

Mr Cummings chose to publish the carefully-selected texts on his newsletter after ignoring pleas from a Commons committee to send evidence formally to them.

Despite being cherry-picked by the ex-aide, some of the texts seem at odds with Mr Cummings' previous arguments.

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My view: Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are birds of a feather that flock together.