Cummings: Boris and No 10 ‘Far Below’ Standards of ‘Competence and Integrity’ UK Deserves

Boris
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Prime Minister Johnson’s former chief adviser has launched an astonishing broadside against his administration, saying he and his office have behaved unethically and fall “far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.”

Dominic Cummings, widely regarded as the architect of the establishment Vote Leave campaign which ran in parallel to the larger, Nigel Farage-backed Leave.EU campaign during the EU referendum in 2016, rendered his judgment on Boris Johnson and his office in a 1,000-word blog post.

This was a response to Downing Street sources suggesting that Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street under a cloud amid reports of clashes with the Prime Minister’s woke fiancée Carrie Symonds, was the so-called “chatty rat” — responsible for leaking information about Johnson’s second lockdown, his questionable personal assurances to business tycoon Sir James Dyson regarding taxes, possible private talks with the Saudi Crown prince over a football team buyout, and alleged efforts to secure donor funding for his accommodation to be refurbished.

Mr Cummings not only strenuously denied being the source of the leaks on the second lockdown, but claimed that the Prime Minister had acknowledged he was not the source during a prior investigation — and that, moreover, the evidence pointed towards Miss Symonds’s “best friend” Henry Newman, and the Prime Minister considered killing a leak inquiry to protect him.

“The Cabinet Secretary told the PM that the leak was [not me] and that ‘all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman and others in that office, I’m just trying to get the communications data to prove it’,” Cummings said.

“The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards, ‘If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?'”

Cummings said he told the Prime Minister this suggestion “was ‘mad’ and totally unethical, that he had ordered the inquiry himself and authorised the Cabinet Secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak. I told him that he could not possibly cancel an inquiry about a leak that affected millions of people, just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends.”

He further claimed to have “WhatsApp messages with very senior officials about this matter which are definitive. ”

On the question of the refurbishment of Johnson and Symdonds’s official accommodation, Cummings again denied responsibility for the leaks — but was scathing of the alleged scheme:

The Prime Minister’s [Director of Communications] has also made accusations regarding me and leaks concerning the PM’s renovation of his flat. The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended. I refused to help him organise these payments.

Cummings pledged to assist the Cabinet Secretary and Electoral Commission in any investigation(s) of the situation, and recommended “an urgent Parliamentary inquiry into the government’s conduct over the covid crisis which ought to take evidence from all key players under oath and have access to documents.”

“Issues concerning covid and/or the PM’s conduct should not be handled as No10 has handled them over the past 24 hours,” he went on, concluding that it was “sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.”

“This government is entirely focused on fighting coronavirus, delivering vaccines and building back better,” said a Downing Street spokesman of Mr Cummings’s claims in a wooden response reported by the Telegraph.

“At all times, the Government and ministers have acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct and electoral law. Cabinet Office officials have been engaged and informed throughout and official advice has been followed,” the spokesman claimed, further insisting that Prime Minister Johnson “has never interfered in a government leak inquiry.”

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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