On 22 April 2022, in an email exchange about Partygate, Jerome Mayhew MP (Broadland) wrote the following to me:
“he [Johnson] has … been the leader who has been getting the big policy decisions right”.
As regards Dominic Cummings, Mr Mayhew wrote the following in an email to me dated 26 May 2020:
“The media reports suggest that Mr Cummings has a difficult personality. My personal view is that every large organisation desperately needs difficult people like Mr Cummings to ask the awkward questions, to challenge the comfortable status quo, to ruffle feathers, to provoke change. People like him are the grit in the oyster that will help make government better … we definitely need people like Mr Cummings within the decision-making process of government.“
On 1 November 2023, in an email to Mr Mayhew, I asked whether, in the light of certain evidence in the current Covid Inquiry, he maintained the views expressed to me in those emails.
He replied as follows on 8 December 2023:
Thank you for your email, and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you. Your first email was placed in the wrong electronic folder and so was overlooked. I still stand by the comments I made previously. I think that the former Prime Minister got big calls right at a very difficult time. The Covid Inquiry has sought to pick apart the workings of an organisation that was buckling under the enormous stress and challenge of an unprecedented global event. Whilst it may be a spectacle to haul these people over the coals I had hoped that the purpose of the Inquiry would be to see how better to respond to such a crisis in the future. Perhaps that part of the process will come later.
I recognise that the UK Covid-19 Inquiry is not yet complete, and that some evidence has been disputed. Nevertheless, other constituents may be interested to know that Mr Mayhew maintains the views set out above in the light of the evidence so far.