Dominic Cummings added mention of coronavirus into a year-old blog post about ebola in April - before saying he warned about pandemics 'last year'by Jack Wright For Mailonline
- PM's special adviser said at Downing Street on Monday he had written about the 'urgent need for planning' for a coronavirus pandemic in 2019
- Mr Cummings is now facing charges of having misled the public by pretending to have warned about coronaviruses last year
- Internet archives suggest he secretly edited a March 2019 blog last month
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Dominic Cummings has been accused of editing a blog post last month to make it seem that he had warned of coronaviruses last year.
The PM's special adviser said on Monday at Downing Street that he had written about the 'urgent need for planning' for a coronavirus pandemic in 2019.
Speaking at a press conference in which he denied breaking lockdown, Mr Cummings claimed: 'For years, I have warned of the dangers of pandemics. Last year I wrote about the possible threat of coronaviruses and the urgent need for planning.'
This appears to have been a reference to his personal blog where he regularly writes about complex issue of interest, including scientific issues.
However, Mr Cummings is facing charges of revising his blog posts to retroactively include references to coronavirus following Monday's conference.
Accusations by MPs that Boris Johnson's key aide may have misled the British public by pretending he had warned of the threat of coronavirus before the pandemic began come amid widespread anger that Mr Cummings may have broken lockdown.
The PM is under immense pressure to sack his chief adviser from a growing number of Tory MPs, after junior minister Douglas Ross resigned from the government.
The only blog post on Mr Cummings' WordPress site to contain a reference to coronaviruses is one published on March 4, 2019.
It quotes research published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists from February 2019 on how security flaws in labs working with pathogens could lead to pandemics.
The blog post was secretly edited on April 14, 2020, the day Mr Cummings returned to Downing Street after his controversial trip to Durham, internet archives suggest.
A section about an incident in which virus researchers in China accidentally caused a SARS outbreak in 2004 was added last month.
Mr Cummings wrote: 'Two researchers conducting virus research were exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus samples that were incompletely inactivated. The researchers subsequently transmitted SARS to others, leading to several infections and one death in 2004.'
Mr Johnson's chief adviser is now accused misleading the public by pretending he had warned of the threat of coronavirus before the pandemic by MPs.
Labour peer Lord Adonis thundered: 'The saga of Mr Cummings rewriting his blogs to claim he warned about (coronavirus) pandemics, when he didn't, is I suspect just the first of many things he said yesterday which will unravel.'
Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dem MP for Bath, said: 'This is another lie that Cummings told to the British people at the press conference.'
Jens Wiechers, the data scientist who spotted the edit, tweeted: 'This is a really petty detail I admit, but it's the kind of casual dishonesty and re-engineering of the past that immediately and irrevocably destroys a person's reputation for me.
A No 10 source said: 'Mr Cummings has warned about the dangers of pandemics for years and the urgent need for planning. In his blog post of March last year, he drew attention to an important story in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about natural and engineered pandemics including Coronaviruses.'