Shortly after the 2019 UK elections, in which the Boris Johnson-led Conservatives saw big gains, allies within the prime minister's party momentarily began to weigh the possibility of replacing the recently-elected leader, former chief adviser Dominic Cummings revealed on Tuesday.
Cummings made the grand revelation during a sit-down interview with the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg that went on to discuss a variety of topics that touched on his current sentiments about Brexit and the relationship he currently has with Johnson, among other talking points.
One of the bigger takeaways from the interview was the moment the former chief adviser detailed that within days of the Conservatives winning the landslide general election, he and allies began to discuss the potential removal of Johnson.
"We were already saying, 'By the summer either we'll all have gone from here, or we'll be in the process of trying to get rid of him and get someone else in as prime minister,'" Cummings told Kuenssberg.
"He doesn't have a plan, he doesn't know how to be prime minister and we only got him in there because we had to solve a certain problem - not because he was the right person to be running the country."
He further detailed that Carrie Johnson, the prime minister's wife, also became a touchy subject at the time, as she had allegedly attempted to influence cabinet appointments. Cummings specifically mentioned that Carrie had wanted him and a few other unidentified staffers off Downing Street.
"The situation we found ourselves in is that, within days, [we] were in a situation where the prime minister's girlfriend is trying to get rid of us and appoint complete clowns to certain key jobs," the former adviser recalled.
Cummings went on to allege that Carrie’s thinking reportedly shifted from acknowledging that Cummings and members of the Vote Leave team were needed to win the 2019 election to simply wanting to do away with them once the results were cemented.
"As soon as the election was won, her view was 'Why should it be Dominic and the Vote Leave team? Why shouldn't it be me that's pulling the strings?'" Cummings alleged.
It was by January 2020 that many staffers soon began to fear whether they would continue to have a job within Johnson’s cabinet.
Addressing one of many of Cummings’ claims, a Downing Street spokesperson relayed to the BBC that “political appointments are entirely made by the prime minister,” and not their spouses.
Brexit Yay or Nay
Although Cummings was considered one of the architects of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, he raised some eyebrows among viewers after indicating he was not entirely certain whether the Brexit efforts were a good idea.
“I think anyone who says they’re sure about questions like that [Brexit] has got a screw loose, whether you’re on the remain side or our side,” Cummings told Kuenssberg. “I think one of the reasons why we won is precisely, in Vote Leave we didn’t think that we’re definitely right and Remainers are all idiots or traitors or anything else.”
“I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say Brexit was a mistake, and history will prove that, of course, it’s reasonable for some people to think that.”
And then there’s the controversial claim from 2016 that the UK was giving the European Union hundreds of millions in funding every week, an allegation that was repeatedly rejected by officials.
Cummings admitted during the tell-all interview that the allegation was put out by the Leave campaign as a sort of trap to “try and drive the Remain campaign and the people running it crazy, so they would start arguing about it.”
Asked about whether such tactics and others tapped by the Leave campaign left a mark on the country’s political sphere, Cummings lamented that “the way in which the world has worked out since 2016 vindicates the arguments that Vote Leave made in all sorts of ways.”
No Calls With Johnson
In the several months that have gone by since resigning from his Downing Street post, Cummings lamented that he has not spoken to Johnson.
However, he did state that Johnson had attempted to get in touch after the pair parted ways, but that he chose to not respond to the prime minister’s phone call, underscoring it ultimately does not “bother [him] one way or the other” whether the once dynamic duo ever speak again.
After submitting his resignation, Cummings in fact became one of Johnson’s biggest critics after having repeatedly attacked the prime minister’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, Cummings revealed during the BBC interview that he once had to convince Johnson against hosting weekly meetings with Queen Elizabeth II.
Regardless of all the criticism he’s tossed in Johnson’s direction, Cummings did state that his efforts were not rooted out of a need for revenge, especially his decision to sit down for the BBC tell-all.