'Weak And Desperate': Rishi Sunak Slammed Over Plan To Bring Back Dominic Cummings

The prime minister wanted the controversial adviser to help the Tories win the election.
Dominic Cummings leaves after giving evidence to the Covid-19 Inquiry in October.
Dominic Cummings leaves after giving evidence to the Covid-19 Inquiry in October.
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has been branded “weak” and “desperate” after it emerged he wanted to bring back Dominic Cummings to help the Tories win the next election.

The controversial adviser left Downing Street in 2020 following a controversy-filled spell as Boris Johnson’s top aide.

Despite masterminding the Conservatives’ landslide election victory the year before, relations between him and the former prime minister deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cummings came in for intense criticism after he was alleged to have broken lockdown rules by taking his family to his parents’ home in Northumberland.

He was spotted visiting Barnard Castle - a trip he later claimed was necessary so he could test his eyesight.

Cummings’ reputation has taken a further battering during the Covid inquiry amid claims of a “toxic culture” within No.10 when he worked there.

In the Sunday Times, Cummings revealed he had held secret talks with Sunak in December 2022 and July last year.

The pair are believed to have discussed, among other things, tax cuts and NHS reforms.

“He wanted a secret deal in which I delivered the election and he promised to take government seriously after the election,” Cummings said.

“But I’d rather the Tories lose than continue in office without prioritising what’s important and the voters.”

He added: “I said I was only prepared to build a political machine to smash Labour and win the election if he would commit to No.10 truly prioritising the most critical things, like the scandal of nuclear weapons infrastructure, natural and engineered pandemics, the scandal of MoD procurement, AI and other technological capabilities, and the broken core government institutions which we started fixing in 2020 but Boris abandoned.”

A No.10 source said: “It was a broad discussion about politics and campaigning, no job was offered.”

Labour and the Lib Dems both condemned Sunak’s decision to try to get Cummings back at the heart of the Tory machine.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said: “Out of touch Rishi Sunak is asking the wrong question if he thinks the lockdown rule-breaking architect of Boris Johnson’s failed premiership is the answer.

“After promising to restore integrity to Downing Street, he’s secretly begging Mr Barnard Castle to run Downing Street again.

“From Cameron to Cummings, the Prime Minister is admitting he’s out of ideas and too weak to come up with his own.

“No matter how desperate Rishi Sunak gets, the British people have had enough of Tory mortgage misery, tax increases and record waits in the NHS.

“Sunak’s reliance on the ghosts of Tory past proves only Labour can offer the change our country is crying out for.”

The Lib Dems said Sunak may even have broken the ministerial code, which states that ministers must publish details of meetings held with external individuals where official business was discussed.

Wendy Chamberlain MP, the party’s chief whip, said: “These shady attempts to bring back Cummings through the back door need to be properly scrutinised.

“We urgently need to know why these meetings weren’t declared in the proper way, and if any officials were present or informed. Given reports that major changes to government policy were discussed that would impact on millions of people’s lives, from taxes to the NHS, the public deserves full transparency, not another cover up.”

A government spokesperson said: “In full accordance with the ministerial code, meetings with private individuals to discuss political matters do not need to be declared.”


What's Hot