Boris Johnson is to take “direct control” of the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis after a chaotic fortnight in which his chief aide was accused of breaking the lockdown rules and the Government’s test and trace plans were hit by setbacks.
A shake-up in Downing Street will see the Government’s entire approach to the pandemic run by two centrally-run committees, the Telegraph reports. The two committees will cover both strategy and operational delivery.
Conservative MPs have said the changes could weaken the influence of chief adviser Dominic Cummings who has been heavily criticised for making a 260-mile trip during lockdown to visit his parents.
The changes will allow the Prime Minister to tighten his grip on the fight against the pandemic after he was treated in intensive care for the virus.
The news comes amid heavy criticism over the government’s plans to quarantine new arrivals in the UK, while a test and trace app to track people infected with coronavirus has failed to materialise.
Boris Johnson is planning to hold high-level Brexit talks with president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen some time in June, according to reports.
Mr Johnson recently appointed Simon Case, a key aide to the Duke of Cambridge, to a top permanent secretary role running 10 Downing Street ahead of the changes.
A new strategy committee – dubbed “CS” – will be chaired by Mr Johnson.
Meanwhile the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, will chair the new operations committee.
The new operations committee is known in Whitehall as “CO”.