POLITICS

Vote Leave Campaign Chief Dominic Cummings Admits Leaving The EU Could 'Be An Error'

Don't remember seeing this on the side of that bus.

04/07/2017 10:51 BST | Updated 04/07/2017 21:06 BST

The brains behind the Brexit vote has admitted it might be possible that leaving the EU “will be an error” and the referendum itself was a “dumb idea”.

Dominic Cummings, the campaign director for the official Vote Leave campaign, claimed “other things should have been tried first” before the referendum was called - suggesting he would have backed further attempts at reform.

Cummings, a former advisor to Michael Gove in the Department for Education, also described the Government’s approach to Brexit as a “farce” and “chaotic”.

The comments came after one user, David Allen Green, asked Cummings: “Is there anything which could now happen (or not happen) which would make you now wish Leave had not won the referendum result?” 

Cummings, who ran a campaign that included the slogans “Britain’s new border is with Syria and Iraq” and “Let’s give our NHS the £350million the EU takes every week”, tried to use quantum mechanics as justification for his comments.

Cummings, who oversaw the production of giant posters warning that “Turkey (population 76million) is joining the EU”, then turned his hand to the epistemology branch of philosophy in order to explain his concerns.

James McGrory, executive director of Open Britain, was scathing in his reaction to the tweets.

He said: “While it’s nice to hear it admitted a year on, it would have been better to have been upfront with people at the time.

“He could have plastered ‘It’s a dumb idea and there will be less money for the NHS’ on the side of a big red bus and it would have inserted some reality into the Leave campaign.

“Leading Leave campaigners now seek to blame everyone else for the Brexit mess, but they are as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo.”

Cumming’s Twitter comments were seized on by anti-Brexit campaigners online:

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Cummings comments come as former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg - who worked as a trade negotiator in Brussels in the 1990s - reveals EU officials were surprised Theresa May did not try to make a deal on free movement in exchange for Single Market membership.

Writing in the Financial Times, Clegg said: “With goodwill and a little imagination, EU governments could agree an ‘emergency brake’ on the free movement of EU citizens, allowing governments to impose quotas and work permits in response to unusually high levels of EU immigration (similar to the trigger in the Cameron package).”  

Clegg argued that “the circle of single market participation and reformed free movement can be squared.”