Disgraced Vote Leave director set to become key Boris Johnson advisor

Dominic Cummings. Photograph: House of Commons.

Dominic Cummings. Photograph: House of Commons. - Credit: Archant

A director of the Vote Leave campaign is set to return to government as a senior advisor to Boris Johnson, sources close to the incoming prime minister have confirmed.

Dominic Cummings was found to be in contempt of parliament in 2018 after a row over his refusal to give oral evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into fake news.

He contested the finding, arguing practical and legal difficulties and accusing the inquiry of bias - but after reviewing these reasons, the Privileges Committee confirmed the contempt.

He has been credited as one of the masterminds of the Vote Leave campaign's success, and was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Channel 4 drama Brexit: The Uncivil War.

In April 2016, he was grilled during a Treasury Select Committee looking into the miselading conduct of both referendum campaigns. He was unrepentant when shown Vote Leave leaflets that included a mimicked NHS logo and said: "Help protect your local hospital". He refused to fully admit they were genuine leaflets from his campaign, or that they had been distributed around hospitals.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings (centre) alongside the characters of Boris Johnson and Mich

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings (centre) alongside the characters of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. Photograph: Channel 4. - Credit: Archant

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He has since made plain his lack of admiration for many Brexiteer MPs, describing a "narcissist-delusional subset" of the European Research Group (ERG) as a "metastasising tumour" that needed to be "excised".

A former advisor to Michael Gove, he is known for his abrasive and abrupt style and was branded a "career psychopath" by David Cameron.

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Following reports of his appointment, Remain-supporting independent MP Sarah Wollaston tweeted: "If true, would be an appalling error of judgement to appoint someone who has been in contempt of Parliament. Very rare for this to happen & would be shameful to be rewarded by PM with such a high-profile role."

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