Dominic Cummings, the disruptive and dangerous PM’s aide at the heart of Downing St

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Dominic Cummings was no stranger to controversy even before Boris Johnson hired him as his senior aide in Downing Street. From giving a job to someone who promoted eugenics, to some pretty unpleasant (but only alleged) comments about coronavirus deaths, Cummings is highly controversial.

He rose to prominence in politics first as an adviser to Michael Gove and then as campaign director at the official Brexit group Vote Leave.

His role in the outcome of that campaign made him a hero to many Brexiteers but a hate figure for some Remainers.

His public profile was boosted when he was later portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in a Channel 4 drama about the campaign, which played up his role in covering a red bus with the hotly-disputed £350 million-a-week for the NHS claim.

Brexit
The controversial Brexit bus (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Johnson hired Cummings as senior adviser at Number 10 when he became Prime Minister in the summer of 2019.

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The appointment of the abrasive former campaign director was controversial especially given he had been found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier in the year for refusing to give evidence to MPs investigating misinformation.

But Cummings has built a reputation as someone who does not play by the rules of conventional politics.

He was once called a “career psychopath” by former prime minister David Cameron, according to widely reported remarks.

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Cummings took aim at former Brexit Secretary David Davis (Steve Parsons/PA)

And he can dish out the insults himself, describing David Davis, then the Brexit secretary, as “thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus” in July 2017.

The December 2019 election victory gave Johnson the political capital he needed to push forward his agenda. Cummings soon set to work on his goal of reshaping Whitehall, issuing a recruitment call for data scientists, economists and “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to shake up the Civil Service.

In April, he was back in the headlines when it emerged he had been present at meetings of the official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) coordinating the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Downing Street insisted there was nothing untoward about his attendance, but opposition MPs and some scientists suggested it risked political interference in science-based advice from SAGE.

He allegedly implied it was ‘too bad’ if people died from coronavirus (Covid-19).

Cummings also drew criticism when he returned to work after his own brush with coronavirus and was pictured allegedly failing to follow the two-metre social distancing rules as he walked along Downing Street flanked by fellow aide Cleo Watson on 14 April.

 

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  • Show Comments
    1. Undeniably – an absolutely fascinating chap. Incredible how Cummings, like Jeremy Corbyn did, has garnered an ongoing visceral hatred from vultures across the divides of politics and varied hate-mongering righteous bubbles supposed to be forgiving of their ethics. Seeing him as Brexit-carrion has probably something to do also with ravenous Remainers circling around Cummings as well when blood and gore is at it’s stenchiest in summer’s political contagion carrying heat. This Labour Leave writer has no remit to support Cummings per se or the Tories in toto. However, one rather relishes his bloody corpse mauled, let’s face it, by so many inconsequential nobodies – and, though battered and bruised, one wants Cummings to weather wounds – which of his own wounds Mr Corbyn gave up to and succumbed with wretched weakness.

    2. You can hardly compare the vicious and extended campaign of hate against Corbyn with the treatment of Cummings by the press in the last few days and. in particular the support from bbc and Sky despite evidence of wrongdoing.
      I find your post indistinguishable from a press release from Tory Central actually, do you have an interest there?

          1. The hate to both Mr Corbyn and Mr Cummings are very much comparable seeing as said hate was and is expressed in belief haters were and are telling incontrovertible truths about either men. Orchestrated hate, as it brought Mr Corbyn down, is clearly aimed at bringing down Mr Cummings. No denying there. Any way – Please attend urgently to your cat as it appears to be in serious trouble.

    3. Everyone seems to be calling for Cummings’ head. What a waste of time. BoJo the Clown will never sack him. That would be like Miss Piggy trying to sack Frank Oz. It won’t happen. Besides, the “crime” of flouting lockdown rules is as nothing to the other disgraceful shenanigans in which this creature has indulged.
      Boris will not remove his eugenicist-in-chief; he needs him too much.
      Why is this news just breaking now? The “offences” were weeks ago. The whole affair (and the foolish reaction of keyboard warriors to it) stinks of “Look over there!” What else is this government of cretins trying to sneak out without us noticing?

    4. Why are we talking about Cummings? This plays well for Johnson and his Cabinet: they are off the hook, Cummings is the target of criticism. But no one elected Cummings. We can’t get rid of him with our votes. Nice trick by the Tories: get everyone obsessed by the odd chap in the beanie hat with an obsession for Bismark and Dostoyevsky, a misplaced belief that he understands Feynman, and a wayward belief that he knows how to turn the UK into a “meritocratic technopolis” (Orwell and Zamyatin combined) and no one will notice that it’s the cabinet who are the elected politicians and the ones who should take the flak. In that regard, the Corbyn comparison breaks down: he was and is elected ( a majority of 26,000 last December). Who ever elected Cummings to anything? By pushing advisers into the spotlight (the same was true of the appalling, ubiquitous Alistair Campbell) democracy is undermined. These people are appointed, They are not answerable to the electorate and should not be treated as if they are. Cummings’ preeminence is a way of saying to us that our votes don’t elect the people with the real power. It seems from Johnson’s behaviour he can’t govern without him. What kind of a PM is that ? Wilson was in thrall to the dreadful Lady Falklander (who apparently told his wife she had had sex with Wilson three times and it was most unsatisfactory). Advisers are necessary but they shouldn’t occupy the space that our elected MPs do. We can choose our MPs but we have no control over advisers. They should be backroom people. Is there any need even for us to know who they are? The poor handling of the Covid crisis is something we should hold Johnson to account for, not his advisers. Cummings is a decoy. He isn’t the story. Johnson and his Cabinet are.

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