BBC News row erupts as Alastair Campbell unleashes fury on Simon McCoy ‘get a grip’

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The BBC’s Simon McCoy attacked Tony Blair’s former aide Alastair Campbell for hitting out at the Government. Mr Campbell claimed Boris Johnson and his advisers are more worried about keeping the press on their side than millions of British people. He went on to tell the BBC presenter to “get a grip” for suggesting he is the reason why senior aides received a lot of power.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Campbell said: “They spend more time talking to/worrying about a small group of media luvvies to use your phrase than they do about the millions of British people.

“They killed people, Simon!”

Mr McCoy interjected: “I just know Alastair that there are people watching you right now who are going to say, ‘where did all this start? When did those backstreet people in Downing Street begin to wield all this power?’

“And the buck stops with you on that, doesn’t it?”

Mr Campbell continued: “Please, get a grip!

“If I actually thought you believed that I would laugh.”

His comments come as Mr Johnson has been hit with a ministerial resignation and faced mounting backbench anger over the actions of Mr Cummings.

Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, said on Tuesday that he was quitting after hearing Mr Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown.

The first resignation over the allegations rocking the Government came as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove sought to defend his longstanding ally as having acted in an “entirely reasonable” way, and within the law.

But Mr Ross, the MP for Moray, said: “I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the Government.

“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the Government was right.”


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Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw joined at least 22 Tory MPs in having called for the aide to quit, or to be sacked by the PM.

Downing Street insisted the PM had not split the Government by backing Mr Cummings amid concerns over how the decision will affect the public, police and health workers during the pandemic.

But Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told BBC Radio 2 that his own postbag showed “many people still disagree” with Mr Cummings’ actions and could not rule out further ministerial resignations.

There was fury on the Tory benches as MPs reflected on the correspondence they had received from constituents.

Mr Cummings maintains he has not breached the lockdown rules. 

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