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Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Dominic Cummings' texts reveal Boris Johnson called Matt Hancock 'hopeless'

·5-min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Boris Johnson appears to have described Matt Hancock as "totally f------ hopeless" while the UK was scrambling to increase Covid testing capacity last year, according to messages released by Dominic Cummings today.

Publishing what he described as "evidence" to back up his scathing attacks on the Health Secretary last month, former Number 10 adviser Mr Cummings has released a number of screenshots of what appear to be exchanges between him and the Prime Minister.

They include messages in which Mr Johnson appears to have described Mr Hancock in March last year as "hopeless" over problems with scaling up testing and the procurement of ventilators.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said Mr Johnson has "full confidence" in Mr Hancock but did not dispute the authenticity of Mr Cummings' screengrabs.

In the Commons, Mr Hancock confirmed the Government is going to make vaccination a condition of employment for people in care homes. He said he will consult on introducing this rule for NHS staff.

The Health Secretary was opening the debate on extending restrictions to July 19, with MPs to vote tonight. Follow it here.

It comes as much of Europe reopens amid declining cases, with Germany to end compulsory working from home and France to scrap facemasks in public.

Putin and Biden meeting results in ambassador deal

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has signalled a healing in the diplomatic rift with the United States by announcing that each country's respective ambassadors will return to their posts as soon as is practically possible. A first summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart was "constructive", Mr Putin said at a press conference after the talks in Geneva ended. The day got off to a rocky start after journalists and security personnel engaged in a "shoving match" before they started their talks. Read a blow-by-blow take on Mr Putin's media briefing and follow the latest from Mr Biden's press conference.

Ronaldo snub wipes £2.8bn off the value of Coca-Cola

Not content with becoming the Euros' all-time top goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo also made waves off the pitch as more than $4bn (£2.8bn) was wiped off the value of Coca-Cola following his snub of the fizzy drink maker at a press conference. Paul Pogba has also got in on the drink juggling act, as the practising Muslim removed a bottle of Heineken from a media briefing. Back to the football - Wales named an unchanged team for their second Group A match against Turkey. Follow it live. Russia managed a 1-0 win against Finland but all the talk is about how impotent Germany looked as they lost 1-0 to France. Thom Gibbs outlines why it's time to write off the Germans - as they suddenly look a lot like England.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

GB News complaints | Ofcom received more than 350 complaints on GB News' launch night over comments made about coronavirus on its flagship show Tonight Live with Dan Wootton. Read on for details.

Around the world: Lebanon's economy collapsing

An acute shortage of foreign currency in a country where 80 per cent of goods are imported has seen even licensed money exchange houses abandon the official rate of 1,515 lira to the dollar. Campbell MacDiarmid reveals how rampant inflation has exacerbated inequality in Lebanon, sparing only those who can access dollars.

Wednesday interview

'People would rather see panto than a Tom Stoppard'

Robert Lindsay -  Jay Williams
Robert Lindsay - Jay Williams

Much-loved actor Robert Lindsay tells Julia Llewellyn Smith about quitting Citizen Smith, turning down Margaret Thatcher, and being directed by his daughter

Read the full article

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Business and money briefing

Building batteries | Some of the world’s biggest carmakers and technology companies are mulling plans to build battery "gigafactories" in the UK amid government overtures to the sector. Read on for details.

Sport briefing

Premier League fixtures | Harry Kane’s hopes of completing a swift move from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester City have been complicated by the two clubs being drawn to face each other in the opening round of Premier League fixtures. See which team your club will play as the season gets underway on the weekend of August 14.

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

The perfect Father's Day card | After a disastrous childhood experience, Pete Paphides has found the magic formula for sending a special message to his dad – thanks to Del Boy Trotter.

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