Boris Johnson’s under-fire chief adviser Dominic Cummings squashed a plan to delay Britain’s true Brexit day which was “all but agreed” while he and the Prime Minister were “laid out on their sickbeds”.
Cummings, resented by much of the media establishment and the “deep state” for his role in the Vote Leave campaign and open disdain for journalists and bureaucrats, is currently the subject of a media circus over allegations he broke lockdown rules by travelling from London to Durham so his family could look after his young child if he and his wife were incapacitated by their coronavirus infections.
Much to journalists’ chagrin, Boris Johnson has elected to stand by Cummings, saying he acted “responsibly, legally, and with integrity” — causing anti-Cummings commentators such as Piers Morgan of Good Morning Britain to demand that state officials scour his personal data for evidence of potential wrongdoing:
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 24, 2020
Less extensively reported is the fact that, on recovering from the Chinese virus, one of Cummings’ first was to squash a plan “concocted by underlings” while he and the Prime Minister were laid low to delay Britain’s true Brexit day.
Technically, the United Kingdom has already left the European Union, but it remains in a so-called “transition period” in which it remains subject to the bloc’s laws, trade policy, judges, and migration regime — effectively EU membership in all but name, but minus representation in EU institutions such as the Commission and the Court of Justice.
Remainers had seen the coronavirus as an opportunity to extend this “transition”, currently due to expire in December 2020, and apparently a plan to do so had been “all but agreed at official level” while Johnson and his adviser were out of action.
"Is it one rule for you, Mr Cummings, and another rule for everybody else?" … ask journalists, tightly huddling around his car, hilariously in contravention of social distancing rules. This whole thing is absurd and everyone knows it. pic.twitter.com/J44RHSfOHa
— Ben Goldsmith (@BenGoldsmith) May 24, 2020
“A deal to extend the transition in light of the [pandemic] had been all but agreed at official level,” reported Jeremy Warner, the Remain-voting assistant editor of The Daily Telegraph, in an article published earlier in May.
“The EU was to have spared the UK’s blushes by proposing it, rather than the other way around. This would have allowed the UK government to present the concession as a favour to the EU, rather than a climbdown,” he explained.
“But then Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, returned and the plan, concocted by underlings while he and Boris Johnson were laid out on their sickbeds, was scuppered,” he lamented.
They’re a bunch of shameless hypocrites. Screaming bloody murder about a supposed breach of the rules whilst packing together like a tin of sardines and clearly breaking the social distancing guidelines themselves. pic.twitter.com/s6Cm5EZeCT
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) May 24, 2020
The ongoing efforts to oust the Brexiteer by elements of the press on both the liberal left and the liberal “right” have been criticised by some viewers as partisan and motivated by his perceived failure to play ball with lobby correspondents who have hitherto relied on “access” to government ministers for much of their work.
For example, social media users have observed that reporters hounding him for the alleged dangerousness of his journey to Durham were crowding him and each other in large numbers while making no effort to observe social distancing and not even wearing masks outside his house.
A sign with an electronic billboard playing official “stay at home” messaging driven to Cummings’ home by the anti-Brexit activist group Led by Donkeys may also have been flouting the lockdown rules the adviser is alleged to have broken.
— Sam Holder (@samholdertv) May 24, 2020
We've now reached the point where poster vans are driving round London – presumably in breach of lockdown regulations – to protest Dom Cummings breaching lockdown regulations.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) May 24, 2020