The prime minister was “foolish to argue with English soccer star Marcus Rashford” for offering free school meals to the poorest families during the holidays, Dominic Cummings said.
Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser claimed the prime minister had been ordered twice by the communications director not to take on the striker because of his campaign to fight child food poverty.
The campaign by the Manchester United star to extend free school meal vouchers for eligible students into the summer holidays resulted in a U-turn by the UK government last June.
Ministers then made another U-turn in November after Rashford and child poverty activists called for free school meals to be provided to disadvantaged children during the Christmas break.
Pointing out the row in front of the MPs today, Mr Cummings said: “For example, Rikford, the communications director, said twice to the Prime Minister: ‘Don’t fight Rashford. Of course we should do this instead. “
“The Prime Minister decided to fight and then surrendered twice.
“After that everyone says,” Oh, your communication is stupid. “No, what was stupid was a fight with Rashford over school meals, and what should have happened is just getting the school meal policy right.
“So it’s easy to blame communications for bad policies and bad decisions.”
When asked to rate the government from 0 to 10 in its communications with the public and the NHS, Mr Cummings said “one of the big myths” was that all of the pandemic’s problems were due to “poor communication”.
He said, “Basically, the cause of all these problems was bad policies, bad decisions, bad planning, and poor operability.
“It doesn’t matter if you have great people communicating, if the prime minister changes his mind ten times a day and then calls the media and contradicts his own policies day in and day out, you will have a communications disaster zone. “