Dominic Cummings is not allowed to directly hire civil servants

The prime minister's special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his home in London. (Photograph: TOLGA

The prime minister's special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his home in London. (Photograph: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images). - Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Downing Street has dismissed claims that Dominic Cummings will be hiring civil servants without following Whitehall's usual recruitment process.

Boris Johnson's chief adviser created headlines when he published a blog calling for "weirdos" and "misfits" to apply for Downing Street jobs.

In his 2,900 worded blog post he called for people with "odd skills" to apply for jobs as special advisers and official positions in government.

He was criticised by employment experts and unions as well as security experts, who claimed he put the country at risk by using American email provider Gmail to conduct government business.

But the prime minister's official spokesperson said he was only looking for "expressions of interest" and that the usual channels for applying for the civil service still applied.

"What we are doing is equipping the government for the specific challenge of making sure that we absolutely deliver on the people's priorities.

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"It is important to see what the blog is - it is seeking expressions of interest. Civil servants continue to be appointed in the usual way.

"The government is committed to levelling up across every part of the United Kingdom and we will take whatever innovative steps are required to deliver that."

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In Cummings' blog he said he wanted to bring in "super-talented weirdos" with "genuine cognitive diversity" rather than typical civil service applicants that have Oxbridge degrees.

"If you want to figure out what characters around Putin might do, or how international criminal gangs might exploit holes in our border security, you don't want more Oxbridge English graduates who chat about [French psychoanalyst Jacques] Lacan at dinner parties with TV producers and spread fake news about fake news."

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