Dominic Cummings: “I didn’t ignore the rules” while driving to Barnard Castle to test eyesight

DOMINIC Cummings said he didn’t ignore the rules by going to Durham with coronavirus, then heading to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’

Mr Cummings, who left No 10 in the fall after a power struggle, also accused Mr Johnson of not having a plan and said he “doesn’t know how to be prime minister”.

In an interview with the BBC, the mastermind of Vote Leave said he helped the Conservative Party win the ballot in December 2019 in order to settle the Brexit debate rather than because he strongly believed in his leadership.

Speaking about his trip to Barnard Castle, Mr Cummings said “security concerns” at his home were the main reason for his trip north and the way the whole situation was being handled was “completely wrong”.

“The country was in a terrible situation, the Prime Minister almost died. It sounds strange, but at the time, it didn’t seem strange at all. If you’re going to drive 300 miles to London tomorrow, go ahead and drive now and see what you think about it all.

“It was just to see if I was okay. If you can’t drive 30 miles, you know you can’t drive 300 miles the next day. It was that simple.

“I understand people were upset, but since I was aware of the rules, I had been discussing security issues with cabinet officials for months. It was reasonable to move regardless of the coronavirus situation. ”

The Echo of the North:

Mr Cummings also laid bare the extent of the conflicted relationship between former Vote Leave officials and Mr Johnson’s current wife, Carrie Johnson, just weeks after the landslide victory.

“Even before mid-January, we had meetings at number 10 to say it’s clear Carrie (Johnson) wants to get rid of all of us,” the former de facto chief of staff said.

“At that point, we were already saying by the summer either that we will all be gone from here or that we will try to get rid of him and recruit someone else as prime minister.”

Mr Cummings claimed that in 2019, ahead of the election, Ms Johnson was happy that Vote Leave officials were working in Downing Street, but that later changed.

He said: “As soon as the election was won, his take was’ why should it be Dominic and the Vote Leave team? Why can’t I be pulling the strings? ”

In comments released Tuesday night, Mr Cummings was far from glowing about Mr Johnson’s vision for the country.

He added: “He doesn’t have a plan, he doesn’t know how to be prime minister and we only put him in there because we had to solve a certain problem, not because he was the right one. no one to run the country. ”

A former aide to Michael Gove when he was education secretary, Mr Cummings said his relationship with Mr Johnson was starting to break down “by the summer of 2020”, with the departure of him and the former communications director Lee Cain in November.

Explaining the split, Mr Cummings said the Prime Minister “was fed up with the media portraying him as some sort of puppet for the Vote Leave team, it was leading him around a corner”.

He also said there were disagreements over the strategy to deal with the pandemic, to improve the country and over Ms Johnson’s growing influence over how the government was run.

“I had a plan, I was trying to get things done, he didn’t have a plan… he didn’t have an agenda,” he continued.

“You know the Prime Minister’s only agenda is to buy more trains, buy more buses, have more bikes and build the world’s dumbest tunnel to Ireland – that’s it “, did he declare.

“Plus, he knew we fundamentally disagreed about what was going on on Covid and he knew I was blaming him for not taking action in September, which I was. ”

The couple had a “big argument”, according to Mr Cummings, after Mr Johnson’s girlfriend at the time demanded that people be fired or promoted “in a way that I thought was contrary to the ethical and unprofessional “.

On Brexit, Mr Cummings said anyone who was “sure about issues” such as Britain’s divorce from the European Union had “a screw loose” but claimed it had been so far ” a good thing”.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that Brexit was a mistake… of course it’s reasonable for some people to think that,” he continued.

“I think obviously I think Brexit was a good thing… I think the way the world has worked since 2016 justifies the arguments put forward by Vote Leave in all kinds of ways. I think it’s good that Brexit has taken place.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister has taken the necessary steps to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice.

“The government he heads has achieved Europe’s fastest vaccination rollout, saved millions of jobs through the leave program and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed by three nationwide lockdowns.

“The government is fully focused on a cautious exit from the pandemic and better reconstruction. ”

The spokesperson added: “Political appointments are made entirely by the Prime Minister. ”

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