Two Of Boris Johnson’s Former Advisers Have Launched Fresh Attacks On The Government

Nikki da Costa and David Frost criticised No10 over partygate and the national insurance rise.
Lord Frost said he can't return to government while national insurance is going up
Lord Frost said he can't return to government while national insurance is going up
Peter Byrne via PA Wire/PA Images

Two of Boris Johnson’s former top advisers have attacked the government over partygate and the planned rise in national insurance.

Nikki da Costa, the prime minister’s former director of legislative affairs, said No10 seemed to have “failed as a collective” by failing to follow the lockdown rules they imposed on the country.

She also said she was “angry” at attempts by Johnson’s allies to downplay the significance of the scandal.

Meanwhile Lord Frost, the former Brexit Secretary, ruled himself out of the running to become the new Downing Street chief of staff following confirmation that the national insurance hike will go ahead in April.

The Tory peer, who quit the government in December, tweeted: “Given the mild speculation about my aspirations this morning I would like to make my thinking clear. The PM’s chief of staff & No10 team must be fully committed to delivering the Government’s agenda. They can’t have agendas of their own or disagree with government policy.

“I believe policy change is needed if the government is going to succeed. In particular I don’t support the decision this weekend to proceed with tax increases, so obviously I could not return to help implement it.”

Writing in The Times, da Costa revealed that No10 had rejected calls for the bereaved to be allowed to form support bubbles during the first lockdown because of concerns it would send the “wrong message” to the public.

She said: “This was the reality of the brutality required for Covid decision-making.

“And this is why I am angry when I see some saying it’s important to get a sense of proportion, because if we in No10 could be that hard-hearted because we thought it was the right thing to do, then those involved in those kinds of decisions also owed it to the country to be as hard on themselves and their own conduct.”

Da Costa said those in charge in Downing Street should have told their staff “it was important to live by the spirit and the letter of the rules we were setting”.

She added: “If No 10 failed in that as a collective, as it seems clear, it needs to be recognised as a failure of and by those at the top of No10. There have been two failings here: what happened and how No10 reacted. The decision not to be honest and upfront and the message that more junior people should be blamed reflect extremely poorly on the senior leadership.”

The pair’s criticism follows an interview by Dominic Cummings in which he described Johnson as “a complete fuckwit” and said removing him from No10 was “unpleasant but necessary - like fixing the drains”.


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