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Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, the former Conservative MP launched a damning attack on Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic as he claimed his Cabinet was not chosen for its talent. Sir Nicholas, Winston Churchill’s grandson, has often been very vocal over his disapproval of Boris Johnson’s Government. He blasted: “When this Government was elected, it was elected with a mandate and it gained a huge majority.
“But then it got hijacked by this terrible, terrible virus with the tragic loss and the gross impediment to the economy and everything else.
“So, I think it’s a very difficult time.
“My remarks about the Cabinet are rarely this bad but I believe that Boris Johnson chose his Cabinet full of people whose only requirements really was to support the Prime Minister in these Brexit talks come hell or high water.
“And therefore I think it’s actually a very mediocre Cabinet. I think there are some very good people there but, basically, I think it’s a Cabinet that was chosen for an entirely different reason.
“They’ve been faced with the most serious position any Government in this country has found himself in since 1945.
“But I actually think, by and large, this is not a Cabinet that was chosen for talent.”
Downing Street had insisted that Mr Johnson would present a committed policy launch on social justice, “levelling up” and coronavirus over the coming weeks following the sudden exit from No 10 of his senior adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain.
No 10 said the “critical announcements” due over the coming weeks would send a “clear signal of his ongoing ambitions for the United Kingdom” with the Prime Minister expected to outline plans for dealing with issues like the Covid-19 pandemic and social inequality.
It is also a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations with the EU reach their final phase.
The Prime Minister is currently self-isolating after being in contact with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19.
The Prime Minister, who was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus in April, has confirmed he was notified by NHS Test and Trace on Sunday that he must self-isolate and will now remain at Number 10 for a period of 14 days.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Mr Johnson – who insisted he would not be exempt from isolating despite previously fighting off the virus – said he would continue to make Government announcements virtually.
He told his Twitter followers on Monday that he was “in good health” and that he has “no symptoms”.
The Prime Minister said: “Hi folks, the good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever-more efficiently, but the bad news is that they’ve pinged me and I’ve got to self-isolate because someone I was in contact with a few days ago has developed Covid.
“It doesn’t matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn’t matter that I’m fit as a butcher’s dog, feel great – so many people do in my circumstances.
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“And actually, it doesn’t matter that I’ve had the disease and I’m bursting with antibodies. We’ve got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating for 14 days when contacted by Test and Trace.”
Mr Johnson said he was self-isolating with a “high heart” that the country was getting on top of the virus, describing the development of rapid speed testing and hopes of having a vaccine roll-out before Christmas as “two gigantic boxing gloves with which to wallop our foe into submission”.
The Conservative Party leader said he would have “plenty more to say by Zoom and other means of electronic communication” as he looks to move on from a tumultuous past week at the top of Government.
Mr Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, said on Facebook he lost his sense of taste on Friday and, after being tested on Saturday, received a positive result on Sunday morning.
The two men were not wearing face coverings and did not appear to be two metres apart in a photo taken at Downing Street which Mr Anderson posted on Facebook.
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