Sajid Javid re-sparks longtime feud with Dominic Cummings | Politics | News

November 29, 2023
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Sajid Javid accused Dominic Cummings of acting like he was “prime minister in all but name”, and of sidelining key decision-makers as part of a No. 10 power play.

The revelations came at another news-packed day at the Covid Inquiry, with the former Chancellor reigniting his feud with Boris Johnson’s right-hand man.

The pair had a major falling out after Mr Cummings unceremoniously sacked one of Mr Javid’s special advisers, having her marched out of No. 10 by a machine gun-carrying member of security.

Shortly after Mr Javid was told he could stay on as Chancellor, but only if he sacked all his advisers – something he refused to do and sensationally quit Government.

Mr Javid said he resigned after feeling that Boris Johnson was “not in charge” and it was actually Mr Cummings “running the Government”.

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He said: “I would say during my time as chancellor I considered he sought to act as the prime minister in all but name and he tried to make all key decisions within No. 10 – not the prime minister.”

He claimed that Downing Street had been “designed” to give power to Mr Cummings instead of the Cabinet.

He said: “It was clear that in Dominic Cummings that the PM had picked someone he had decided to trust with a huge amount of responsibility and power.

“Many times I felt that many of the key decisions were being made by Mr Cummings rather than by the Prime Minister.”

Mr Javid, who was eventually brought back by Mr Johnson as Health Secretary after the resignation of Matt Hancock, told the inquiry in his witness statement that the Cabinet Mr Johnson had appointed going into the pandemic “had less experience of being in government or holding offices of state than many previous cabinets”.

“They were not a team who were well-versed in the affairs of government outside of a crisis and I can imagine that may have caused difficulties during the pandemic.

“My view is that the cabinet was designed to place Dominic Cummings and the prime minister as the decision-makers: the goal was to centralise power in No 10 with a preference for loyalty over experience.”

Following Mr Javid this afternoon, however, the former deputy PM Dominic Raab rejected the idea that Mr Cummings was running the government.

He told the inquiry: “There is a whole circus that can be built up in the media and elsewhere around the internal battles between individuals. Some of that is natural and healthy”.

“I’ve got no beef with Mr Javid, but equally I don’t think that’s quite right.

“I think Dominic Cummings was… trying to galvanise the direction of travel was much needed.

“One of the things Dominic Cummings observed is sometimes Whitehall can feel like a closed shop… I think he identified some of the structural challenges.”

He added it was natural for Mr Johnson to rely on his key advisors, and it was important to delegate.

“I just don’t accept the characterisation that there was some puppet regime.”



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