Dominic Cummings is not ‘Mother Theresa’ says Montgomerie
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Dominic Cummings, 49, is a British political strategist who served as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “right-hand man” from July 2019 until November 2020. During his career, he was at the forefront of several important campaigns including his position as director of the Vote Leave campaign. The former chief adviser was at the centre of the 2020 controversy after he undertook a 30-mile drive to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’, despite lockdown rules prohibiting this.
Mr Johnson and his former aide have been engaged in an embittered row, with the latter questioning Mr Johnson’s “competence and integrity”.
The former top adviser denied leaking text messages sent between Mr Johnson and businessman Sir James Dyson.
Mr Cummings accused Mr Johson of undertaking an “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal” plan to get Conservative donors to foot the bill for a costly refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.
In his first blog post since leaving his role, the top former aide said: “It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.”
Mr Cummings also denied leaking details of the second Covid lockdown in England.
The blog shows Mr Cummings is willing to discuss details of his time at Downing Street, regardless of how badly it impacts the PM.
The key messages included in his recent blog post included the following:
- He denied leaking text messages sent between Mr Johnson and Sir James
- He denied leaking details of the second coronavirus lockdown in England in November
- He claimed the prime minister once had a “possibly illegal” plan for donors to pay for renovations of his Downing Street flat
- He alleged Mr Johnson had considered trying to block an inquiry into the leak in case it involved a friend of his fiancee, Carrie Symonds.
Why did Dominic Cummings leave?
The ex-adviser was forced out of his Downing Street role at the end of 2020 after an internal power struggle in Downing Street, which also saw the departure of communications director Lee Cain.
Mr Cain supposedly had been offered the job of Mr Johnson’s chief-of-staff, but the promotion sparked bitter infighting in the party, with Carrie Symonds allegedly opposing the change of role.
Mr Cain then announced he was quitting as the Prime Minister’s director of communications – something Mr Cummings saw as his fellow Vote Leave campaigner effectively having been forced out of Number 10.
Mr Cummings left Downing Street on November 14, 2020, carrying a box of his belongings.
His departure from No 10 had been brought forward given the “upset in the team”, according to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
She said there had been long-running tensions within Number 10, but the “slow-burning fuse exploded fast when it finally happened”.
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The former aide confirmed he would leaving his post, but claimed he was following a timeline set out in a blog post in January.
Mr Cummings will be questioned by a committee of MPs in May regarding impropriety claims levied at Mr Johnson.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is expected to be asked about allegations the PM considered halting a leak inquiry in case it implicated his fiancee’s friend.
Downing Street said this is “absolutely false” and Mr Case is expected to say the inquiry into the leaked plans for the second lockdown are still ongoing.
Mr Cummings is also expected to face questions about lobbying rules.
The comments made by Mr Cummings in his recent blog have been dismissed as “tittle-tattle” by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who slammed Mr Cummings while defending Mr Johnson.
She told Sky News: “I have been assured that the rules have been fully complied with and I know that he has met the costs of the flat refurbishment.
“I absolutely believe and trust that the Prime Minister has done that.
“What people want to know is that in line with the rules the prime minister has met the cost of this refurbishment.
“That has happened. All the costs will be declared in line with the rules.”
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