NUMBER 10 have stuck up for adviser Dominic Cummings after it emerged he edited a year-old blog post on pandemic risks to include references to coronaviruses last month.
The Prime Minister’s senior adviser was caught out for adding the reference after boasting in yesterday’s press conference that he had warned of the dangers of coronaviruses just last year.
While explaining why he felt he could not stay in London when he and his wife fell sick with Covid-19, Cummings said he and his home had become a target following reports of his support for “herd immunity” to the coronavirus.
He denied this suggestion and added: “Only last year I wrote explicitly about the danger of coronaviruses …”
READ MORE: Dominic Cummings ‘added’ coronavirus quote to blog in April
However thanks to web archival service the Wayback Machine BBC journalist Faisal Islam uncovered that the blog post in question, from March 2019, had references to coronaviruses added between April and May this year.
The blog’s sitemap confirmed that the edit to add in a reference to coronaviruses in the blog post, which mainly focused on potential human errors in biolabs, was made on April 14 – the day Cummings returned to Downing Street after staying at his parents’ farm in Durham.
Now Downing Street has acknowledged that the blog was updated, but told Islam the original version featured a link to an article which did explicitly discuss coronaviruses.
NEW: No 10 source acknowledges blog was indeed updated, but says the original version from last year linked to an article [in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists] which did discuss coronaviruses [in the bits not quoted from originally but subsequently added].
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) May 26, 2020
However this was at odds with the statement from Cummings who told journalists at the press conference: “Only last year I wrote explicitly about the danger of coronaviruses.”
Cummings held the unprecedented press conference yesterday amid a row over his 250-mile journey from London to Durham with his wife and son while sick with Covid-19.
There are growing calls for the top adviser to step down after the conference where he defended the decision and insisted he was acting in the interests of his young son.