CABINET Office officials are said to be worried that Dominic Cummings is set to accuse Boris Johnson, his former boss, of missing key meetings on the Covid crisis because he was working on a biography of William Shakespeare.

According to the Sunday Times, Johnson needed the money from the book to fund his divorce from his second wife Marina Wheeler.

The Prime Minister is said to have missed five Cobra emergency committee meetings at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

Cummings has launched an offensive on social media against the planning for the pandemic, and accused his former boss of having pursued a secret policy of herd immunity to fight the virus that that would have led to “catastrophe”.

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His comments come ahead of his evidence to Wednesday’s joint hearing of the Commons health and science committees.

It is also thought he will reveal damaging details of the decision to decant patients from hospitals into care homes, where the virus claimed thousands of lives.

Cummings said planning for the pandemic was “AWOL” and “a disaster” and claimed that “awful decisions delayed everything” and made the first lockdown necessary.

He went on to accuse health leaders of failing to get mass testing up and running despite being told by Johnson and the then Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill to treat it as “a wartime project”.

Time, money and lives were “needlessly lost” he said, as a result of Whitehall’s “awful process”.

He added: “If mass testing had been developed properly earlier in the year as it could and should have been … we would probably have avoided lockdowns two and three while awaiting [the] vaccine.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel denied Cummings’s herd immunity claims, telling the Andrew Marr Show: “Our strategy was always about protecting public health, saving lives and protecting the NHS.”