Questions after Vote Leave chief brought into government - despite being found in contempt of parliament

PUBLISHED: 14:56 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 25 July 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the House of Commons (left) is asked about Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings (right). Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the House of Commons (left) is asked about Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings (right). Photograph: Parliament TV.

Archant

In his first day on the job Jacob Rees-Mogg has been asked by Labour about the role of a Vote Leave chief in government despite being found in contempt of parliament.

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Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz asked leader of the Commons Rees-Mogg whether Dominic Cummings, one of the new top advisers for Boris Johnson, will be given a parliamentary pass after MPs found him to be in contempt of parliament.

The former Vote Leave chief has been handed a top job in operation at Number 10.

In March, Cummings was found to be in contempt of parliament by the Committee of Privileges after he refused to give evidence to the Commons Culture Select Committee during its fake news inquiry.

Vaz asked: "Will he get a pass? Perhaps we need counsels' advice on this."

Rees-Mogg did not respond on Cummings instead focusing on the issue of prorogation: "(Ms Vaz) asks for a new session and said when will this session end, and then asks me to promise we wouldn't prorogue.

"Well, we can't have both because we can't get a new session without proroguing though the prime minister has said he views prorogation as an archaic mechanism and does not wish to see archaic mechanisms used."

To laughter, he added: "As I'm now bound by collective responsibility that is also my view."

The hiring of Cummings had been widely criticised across the political divide with Liberal Democrat Layla Moran telling the New Statesman that Cummings had "shown nothing but contempt for our judicial system, and parliament".

She continued: "As a master of the dark arts he makes Peter Mandelson look like a choir boy. I'm deeply disturbed by this development. Scared even. If this were a popular wizard themed series of novels, this is book five of seven. The plot is now perpetually sinister, and it looks like the forces of evil have got their hands firmly gripped on the levers of power."

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