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HomeUK NewsTories shocked by ‘secret deal’ between Sunak and Cummings

Tories shocked by ‘secret deal’ between Sunak and Cummings

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Tories have expressed strong disapproval and concern over allegations that Rishi Sunak offered Dominic Cummings a secret deal to assist him in winning the election. One Tory MP said that Boris Johnson’s former chief aide should have no role in the political sphere, following these claims.

Within WhatsApp groups, other Tory MPs have voiced their opposition to this revelation, indicating it reflects poorly on Sunak’s judgment. One MP likened the situation to inviting “an arsonist into your home,” The Guardian reports.

While Downing Street did not refute Sunak’s two meetings with Cummings, they refuted Cummings’ assertion of a job offer, asserting that the prime minister engaged in a general discussion during these encounters.

Cummings, a key figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign, was dismissed by Johnson within a year but remains a controversial figure in UK politics.

His controversies include a breach of lockdown rules in 2020 when he relocated his family from London to the north-east of England.

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He’s also been characterised as an abrasive figure, accused of being part of a toxic, misogynistic, and overbearing group of advisors in Johnson’s No 10.

According to the Sunday Times, Cummings and Sunak held discussions in North Yorkshire, Johnson’s constituency location, in July.

There was a previous meeting in December 2022 in London involving Sunak, Cummings, and Liam Booth-Smith, Sunak’s chief of staff, the report added.

Cummings asserted that Sunak proposed a private role in preparing for the upcoming election but could not agree to his conditions.

Cummings outlined that there was a proposed confidential arrangement where he would secure the election, with the understanding that government priorities would shift post-election, in other words – to take government seriously after the election.

However, he expressed a firm stance, stating that he would rather see the Tories lose than continue governing without emphasising crucial matters.

Cummings articulated his readiness to construct a political framework to defeat Labour and win the election, but on the condition that No 10 truly committed to prioritising significant concerns.

These concerns included issues such as nuclear infrastructure, pandemics, Ministry of Defence procurement, AI and technological advancements, and the need to address governmental institutional deficiencies left unaddressed since 2020 by Boris Johnson.

One former cabinet minister expressed astonishment at the idea, stating that they are staggered that this was even thought to be a good idea, especially when Sunak said in the past, he was having nothing to do with Cummings.

“This is a man who is deeply toxic, whose approach to politics is sociopathic, and I’m being polite.”

They said, bringing someone like that back into the political arena, given the damage caused, lacks any judgment.

“Dominic Cummings has no place in political life, in my view, and that would be the view of most people in the Conservative party, from left to right.”

Additionally, a senior backbencher said every Conservative MP should remember the thousands of emails from outraged constituents after Cummings’s trip to Bernard Castle.

“Never let an arsonist into your home, most certainly don’t welcome them in, no matter how bad the polls. Dominic Cummings has no interest in the Conservative party.”

One MP, who is usually supportive, expressed concerns and said, engaging in discussions with anyone, even with dissenting views, is understandable.

However, offering a role to someone as controversial and detrimental, both to policies and the Conservative party, seems like a step backward. It will only bring up memories that “we in the party would rather forget.”

The Liberal Democrats called for an investigation into whether Sunak violated the ministerial code by not registering both meetings officially.

But a government spokesperson said meetings with private individuals to discuss political matters do not require declaration, fully adhering to the ministerial code.

While Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, pivotal in Labour’s election preparations, criticised Sunak’s approach.

He said Sunak is out of touch if he thinks the architect of Boris Johnson’s failed premiership, known for breaking lockdown rules, is the solution.

Cummings faced public scrutiny during the pandemic for driving to Barnard Castle, claiming it was to test his eyesight.

More recently, during the Covid public inquiry, Cummings was accused of making “aggressive, foul-mouthed, and misogynistic” remarks after messages revealed attempts to dismiss senior civil servant Helen MacNamara, referring to No 10’s situation in derogatory terms.

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