Dominic Cummings has revealed the four demands he made of Boris Johnson before joining No 10 as the prime minister’s chief adviser.
Cummings told a group of MPs in his first public appearance since leaving No 10 that he persuaded the prime minister to sort of the “disaster zone” of Whitehall.
Appearing before the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Cummings gave evidence on the government’s plans for a new “high-risk, high-reward” scientific agency he spearheaded in government.
The £800m Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) is modelled on America’s long-running Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
Explaining how he got Johnson on board, Cummings said: “Essentially what happened was the prime minister came to speak to me the Sunday before he became prime minister and said ‘would I come into Downing Street to try and help sort out the huge Brexit nightmare’.
“I said ‘yes, if – first of all – you’re deadly serious about actually getting Brexit done and avoiding a second referendum’.
“‘Second, double the science budget, third, create some ARPA-like entity and, fourth, support me in trying to change how Whitehall works and the Cabinet Office work because it’s a disaster zone’.
“And he said ‘deal’.”
Cummings added the July 2019 meeting between himself and Johnson was attended by only the two of them, and took place in his living room.