Call for Dominic Cummings to give evidence in front of parliamentary committee

PUBLISHED: 09:39 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 17 February 2020

Dominic Cummings. Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images.

Dominic Cummings. Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images.

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Boris Johnson’s key adviser Dominic Cummings should give evidence in front of a parliamentary committee, the SNP’s Ian Blackford has said.

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The SNP leader described Cummings, the former head of the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum, as the "power behind the throne" and urged the Liaision Committee to take evidence from him.

Typically the committee regularly takes evidence from prime ministers, but Blackford says it is Cummings running government.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Monday, Blackford said: "I've written to the clerk of the Liaison Committee to ask that he use his powers to make sure that Dominic Cummings appears before that committee.

"It's been clear for a long period of time that this is the power behind the throne."

Blackford went on to raise questions about last week's reshuffle and the replacement of former Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith and the former attorney general Geoffrey Cox in the Thursday reshuffle, claiming the prime minister is surrounding himself with "yes men and women".

He added: "It's right that the prime minister is questioned by the committee, but also the person that's responsible - the power behind the throne - Dominic Cummings, who is having such an impact on government which has seen not just the removal of ministers but special advisers losing their job as he continues to play games in Number 10."

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When questioned about the right of the prime minister to determine ministers in his cabinet, Blackford likened the actions of Johnson to US president Donald Trump.

He added: "That's why it's important that parliament does its job and the Liaison Committee, which is the chair of all the select committees, doesn't just call the prime minister but uses its power to call Dominic Cummings, who we know is having a significant impact on the way this prime minister is behaving, so we can hold this government - and Dominic Cummings - to account."

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP went on to claim that the "scale of changes" in the cabinet since the prime minister took office was "quite unprecedented".

When asked for evidence that the prime minister is running government in a presidential way, Blackford said: "The charge which is made, and rightly so, is that what the prime minister is doing - supported by Dominic Cummings - is surrounding himself with yes men and women that will do his bidding.

"If you look at the history over the course of modern times you haven't seen the reshuffle to the extent that's taking place in the recent past, its a revolving door which is taking place.

"The key element of this is that if you don't do the bidding of Boris Johnson, if you don't accept everything that he wants to do, then you're going to leave."

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