No job offer made to Dominic Cummings in meetings with PM, Downing Street says
No job offer was made to Dominic Cummings during a meeting with Rishi Sunak, Downing Street has said.
The former Vote Leave campaign director previously claimed the Prime Minister had sought a “secret deal” with him in a bid to win next year’s election.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a “private political discussion” had taken place, but Mr Cummings was not offered a job.
The pair were said to have spoken in London in December 2022 and again over dinner in North Yorkshire in July, in meetings kept secret from some of Mr Sunak’s closest allies.
Mr Cummings told the Sunday Times he was only prepared to offer his help if Mr Sunak would commit to prioritising the “most critical things”, citing nuclear weapons infrastructure, future pandemics, Ministry of Defence procurement, artificial intelligence (AI) and “broken core Government institutions”.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Sunak’s spokesman said: “It was a political meeting, I wouldn’t have any more details than that, I think they (special advisers) have been clear there wasn’t a job offer made.”
He added: “This is a private political discussion, I think my political colleagues have made clear it was about politics and campaigning, I can only point you to that detail.
“Those sorts of discussions are not required to be disclosed, I think the only exception is for senior media executives.”
The former aide is said to have urged the Prime Minister to abandon his cautious economic approach, settle the NHS strikes and double the threshold at which people pay the 40p rate of income tax from £50,271 to £100,000.
Mr Cummings told the paper: “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.
“The post-2016 Tories are summed up by the fact that Sunak, like Johnson, would rather lose than take Government seriously. Both thought their MPs agreed with them, and both were right.”
Labour’s shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said: “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.”
Liberal Democrat MP and chief whip Wendy Chamberlain has requested an investigation into the meetings and demanded to know why they were not declared “in the proper way”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister’s ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, Ms Chamberlain (North East Fife) said: “As you will be aware, the Ministerial Code requires ministers to publish details of meetings held with external individuals where official business is discussed, including which areas of policy are discussed.
“According to the Sunday Times, Cummings called for significant changes in Government policy during the meeting, including an emergency budget, tax cuts and addressing NHS strikes.
“These reports raise serious concerns that the Prime Minister has breached the code by failing to declare the meetings in a proper way. As a result, will you be considering an inquiry into these meetings and the possibility of the Prime Minister breaching the code?
“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.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.