BORIS Johnson hit back at Dominic Cummings last night — branding leaks claiming the PM made a sick slur over the Covid crisis as “lies”.
In a plot worthy of Line of Duty, the ex-aide’s claim he had been cleared of being the “chatty rat” leaker was also dismissed.
Even MI5 is baffled over the identity of the “source or sources”.
Mr Cummings’ boast that he was cleared of being the No10 leaker was dismissed — with a senior official admitting the culprit may never be caught.
The axed former aide was also suspected of being behind claims that Boris Johnson made a sick slur about the Covid death toll — dismissed as “total rubbish”.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case was hauled before MPs to explain why whoever leaked news of the planned November lockdown — dubbed the “chatty rat” — had still not been caught.
The mandarin insisted that no one had yet been found guilty — or cleared, which was at odds with Mr Cummings’ claim in his bombshell blog last week.
The head of the civil service was also forced to admit the “source or sources” may never be found, despite the efforts of top secret intelligence agents.
He all but confirmed the security services had been brought in for the probe, yet no crime or breach of the Official Secrets Act took place.
Mr Case infuriated MPs during the sometimes painful evidence session, hiding behind classified secrets and ongoing investigations to avoid giving straight answers.
In scenes worthy of AC-12’s interrogation of tight-lipped police officers in BBC’s Line of Duty, he claimed he was “under restraints related to classification”.
Sacked No 10 aide Mr Cummings wrote in his incendiary “Nuclear Dom” blogpost last week that Mr Case had told him he was not a suspect for the leak.
But Mr Case declined to back up that version of events before the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
Mr Cummings also accused Mr Johnson of wanting to shelve the probe as one of the suspects was Henry Newman, who is a close pal of the PM’s fiancee Carrie Symonds.
But Mr Case insisted “at no point has this investigation been in any way de-prioritised. It is in the hands of professional investigators who have a range of tools and techniques at their disposal”.
Other suspects are thought to include ousted spin doctor Lee Cain, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, senior minister Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Mr Case told MPs: “I am constrained in what I can say because it’s in the context of an ongoing investigation.”
Meanwhile the PM and his closest allies spent yesterday slamming claims that he made a slur about bodies piled high from Covid.
The accusation was branded “gossip” and “total, total rubbish” as insiders again pointed the finger at Mr Cummings.
The PM allegedly lost his temper after being told last October — around the same time as the “chatty rat” leak — that another lockdown was inevitable.
At a No10 meeting, Mr Gove reportedly warned him that soldiers would be needed to guard overrun hospitals.
Accounts say the PM then allegedly said: “No more f***ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
But Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “We are denying it, that the Prime Minister said that. He has made that clear he did not say it.”
Labour called the allegation “sickening”.
But Mr Gove said: “This is a Prime Minister who was in hospital himself in intensive care. The idea that he would say any such thing I find incredible. I was in that room, I never heard language of that kind.”
Asked during a visit to Wales if he said it, the PM replied: “No.”
Visiting a dairy farm in Clwyd and trying some ice cream, right, he added: “I know why you’ve got to focus on this sort of stuff, but I really think what the public want to hear about is our plans for jobs, growth, and bouncing back.”
Who is the ‘chatty rat’?