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Dominic Cummings ‘held secret election talks with Rishi Sunak’

Labour says reports PM discussed working with Boris Johnson’s former aide shows he is ‘out of ideas’

Dominic Cummings. No 10 has not denied Cummings’ account but said no job offer was made.

Rishi Sunak offered Dominic Cummings a secret deal to help the Conservatives win the election, Boris Johnson’s former chief aide has said, a claim that Labour said showed the prime minister was “out of ideas”.

Downing Street has not denied Sunak met Cummings twice for discussions, first revealed in the Sunday Times, but rejected that this involved a job offer, saying the prime minister simply had “a broad discussion” with him.

Cummings, one of the architects of the successful Vote Leave campaign, was sacked by Johnson after less than a year and remains one of the most controversial figures in UK politics.

Part of this comes from his apparent breach of lockdown rules when he took his family from London to the north-east of England in spring 2020. He is also a notably abrasive figure, accused by others of being at the centre of a toxic, misogynistic and arrogant cabal of advisers in Johnson’s No 10.

According to the Sunday Times, Cummings and Sunak held talks in North Yorkshire, where the prime minister’s constituency is located, in July. The discussions were so secret that some members of Sunak’s inner circle knew nothing about them, the paper said.

Cummings had previously had a meeting in London in December 2022 with Sunak and Liam Booth-Smith, Sunak’s chief of staff, the report added.

Cummings told the Sunday Times Sunak offered him a private role preparing for the next election, but that the PM would not agree to his terms.

Cummings said: “He wanted a secret deal in which I delivered the election and he promised to take government seriously after the election. But I’d rather the Tories lose than continue in office without prioritising what’s important and the voters.

“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 Downing Street source told the paper: “It was a broad discussion about politics and campaigning, no job was offered.”

Among advice given by Sunak in July was for Sunak to hold an emergency budget to slash taxes, including raising the threshold for the higher 40p rate of income tax from £50,271 to £100,000, settle the NHS strikes and leave the European convention on human rights.

After the Sunday Times report was published, Cummings tweeted: “Don’t know why someone at No 10 blabbed about this but … Brief statement on Times story about the PM asking me to smash Labour and win the election, what I asked for in return (e.g sorting out the horror show of our nuclear weapons infrastructure, pandemic defences), & why we couldn’t do a deal.”

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, whose role is central to Labour’s election preparations, 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.”

Cummings became a figure of some national ridicule during the pandemic after claiming he drove his family to the County Durham beauty spot of Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

More recently, at the public inquiry into Covid, Cummings was accused of “aggressive, foul-mouthed and misogynistic” abuse after messages showed he tried to sack the senior civil servant Helen MacNamara, saying No 10 was “dodging stilettos from that cunt”.

A Little Thought:

Loose mouth Cummings is not to be trusted and surely if the talks and any offer had been classed as secret then it should have stayed that way.


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