Saturday, December 4

Cummings-PM ties ‘fell off cliff’



Dominic Cummings left Downing Street after his relationship with the prime minister fell off a cliff, a former cabinet minister has said.

Cummings left his role on Friday after a power struggle that has rocked the administration. The former Brexit secretary David Davis said Cummings relationship with the prime minister fell off a cliff and his departure was a chance to reset the government.

It came as a senior Tory backbencher who supported Cummings over his coronavirus lockdown breaches said he was wrong to do so.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt said he should not have supported him after his controversial trips to Durham and Barnard Castle at the height of England’s first lockdown were exposed by the Guardian and the Daily Mirror. Blunt said his lockdown journeys stank.

Blunt was not one of the 45 backbenchers who called for Cummings to go at the time, but speaking on Times Radio he admitted his behaviour had gravely undermined the government’s message on coronavirus.

Asked if he had been right to back the adviser, Blunt said: With the benefit of hindsight, no. However, you’ve got to make a call about what is seen to be fair and proper in the circumstances and Boris made a call on that

During their visit to the north of England, Cummings and his family travelled to the picturesque town of Barnard Castle, 30 miles from his parents home, which he said was to check his eyesight was in good order.

Crispin said while he felt Cummings had done the right thing for his family, it had eroded public trust in the government and messaging over the Covid crisis.

The politics of it obviously absolutely stank and once it had been alighted upon by people it was a very bad example and it gravely undermined, obviously because of the huge attention it received, trust in the government’s policy, he said.

Davis, said on Saturday that Boris Johnson had for a long time been very dependent on Mr Cummings and called on Johnson to put right the marginalisation of MPs over the past 11 months.

The whole attitude to parliament has been pushed, has been sidelined, and similarly, it is said, and I am not in a position to know, but, it is said that cabinet has been sidelined too, Davis told Times Radio.