Dominic Cummings on Tuesday will be challenged to out himself as the source behind claims Boris Johnson said he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than order a third lockdown.
Three MPs on the parliamentary committees grilling Mr Cummings, the former Number 10 adviser, predicted he would be asked whether the Prime Minister ever made the remark.
Mr Johnson has denied publicly making the comment, which was allegedly uttered after the Prime Minister reluctantly agreed to a second lockdown last year.
However, numerous unnamed sources were said to have overheard the remark, according to media reports from the Daily Mail, ITV News and BBC News.
Mr Cummings has been accused by Number 10 sources of being behind leaks of information this year that politically damaged Mr Johnson, a claim he has publicly denied.
One MP attending the hearing told The Telegraph it was “absolutely certain” Mr Cummings will be questioned on the ‘bodies pile high’ claim, adding: “I would fall off my chair if that question wasn’t asked.”
Two other MPs said similar things, with one noting the line of questioning could prove “embarrassing for Boris and for Downing Street”.
Number 10 is bracing itself for Mr Cummings’s appearance before the House of Commons’s Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee at 9.30am on Tuesday.
Mr Cummings was once a Boris Johnson ally, working together to defy the odds on the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum before teaming up again to win Mr Johnson the premiership and the 2019 general election.
However, the pair have fallen out spectacularly since Mr Cummings left Number 10 at the end of last year following tensions between different Downing Street factions.
Mr Cummings has continued his criticisms of the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite having been a central part of the Number 10 team for most of last year.
In one tweet, Mr Cummings claimed that the Prime Minister was being “screamed at” in a March 14, 2020 meeting because there was “no plan for lockdown”. At the time the Covid-19 cases were soaring. A lockdown was announced later that month.
In another tweet, Mr Cummings described what he called “the most surreal day” of his 18 months in Government when it was allegedly argued to Mr Johnson that encouraging people to isolate if needed should be delayed.
One former Government adviser who has known Mr Cummings for more than half a decade said his motivation for speaking out was to make sure the “truth” was known about the Government’s response to Covid-19.
“A lot of people are going to be very embarrassed,” the source told The Telegraph, adding that Mr Cummings “has got documents and he isn’t afraid to use them”.
But the Government’s denials at Mr Cummings claims are already emerging. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a Government minister for business, insisted that herd immunity was “never the policy of this Government”.
Downing Street also insisted Mr Johnson did not miss emergency meetings on the response to the emerging coronavirus pandemic because he was working on a book.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he was “not aware” of Mr Johnson doing any work on a biography of William Shakespeare while in office.