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Health secretary Matt Hancock has denied a claim that he is “hopeless” after leaked texts by former No 10 aide Dominic Cummings suggested that this was how Boris Johnson described him early in the coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister said Mr Hancock was “totally f*****g hopeless” last year, according to a message published by the former advisor on social media.
Mr Cummings, who has blamed Mr Hancock for failings during the Covid-19 response, published a screenshot apparently showing a WhatsApp exchange between himself and the PM on 3 March last year.
The former aide also claimed that Mr Johnson plans to quit no more than two years after the next general election.
It came as Lord Frost told MPs that talks with the European Union were making little progress. The two sides are locked in a dispute over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the part of the Brexit divorce deal aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland.