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Mark Francois tells Britain’s top general: ‘Cummings is going to come and sort you out’

Mark Francois (left) and army general Nick Carter (right). Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

Tory Brexiteer MP Mark Francois has warned Britain’s top army general that Dominic Cummings is going to come and ‘sort you out’ if his department does not get itself in order.

Francois issued the threat after criticising the defence procurement process during a session of the House of Commons defence select committee.

He told general Sir Nick Carter, chief of the Defence Staff: ‘Can we just make a plea to you? You are the professional head of the armed forces.

‘Please nip back to the department and ask them to sort their bloody selves out, because if not, Cummings is going to come down there and sort you out his own way, and you won’t like it.’

As Francois continued to stare at the general, who served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, Carter let out a smile.

It left committee chair and Tory MP Tobias Ellwood to intervene, saying: ‘I think that message is passed on.’

Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Cummings is said to have reform of the defence department high on his agenda as part of his move to shake-up Whitehall.

In a post on his blog last year he described the defence procurement process as a ‘farce’.

Downing Street confirmed after the election it was one of its priorities, when it told reporters: ‘The government will undertake a new integrated foreign policy, security and defence review which will extend from the armed forces to the intelligence services, counter-terrorism, serious organised crime, diplomacy and development.

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‘This will ensure we are making the best use of spending to ensure all our security forces are ahead of hostile powers, terrorists and organised crime.’

Twitter users reacted with raised eyebrows at the fact Francois was threatening the army general.

One said it was ‘confirming the country is under the control of an unelected dictator’.

‘His face says it all,’ said Dan O’Donoghue.

‘Imagine being head of the armed forces, and having Mark Francois trying to intimidate you. It’s like a chinuaua trying to scare a bull mastiff,’ tweeted @damocrat.

‘Francois lecturing the army on procurement He’s part of the government that bought the wrong Covid tests, wrong PPE, spent £100mn on unnecessary Brexit ads, £900k for a paint job on a plane, took a stake in an almost bankrupt business who make the wrong kind of satellite…’ noted @beany_1.

Alexis Conran, however, reminded Twitter: ‘Mark Francois enjoys a 30k majority in his constituency….’