Former prime minister says Dominic Cummings is 'poisoning politics'

PUBLISHED: 15:19 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 06 September 2019

Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings, in Downing Street in Westminster. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings, in Downing Street in Westminster. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Former Tory leader Sir John Major has unleashed a scathing attack on the PM's aide, branding him 'a political anarchist' and calling for his dismissal.

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In a speech in Glasgow to the CBI he said that Johnson's advisers could "poison the political atmosphere beyond repair".

"The legitimate concerns of those who have been banished from the party … seem to be worth nothing - unless they become cyphers, parroting the views of a prime minister influenced by a political anarchist, who cares not a fig for the future of the party I have served.

"We have seen over-mighty advisers before. It is a familiar script. It always ends badly. I offer the prime minister some friendly advice: get rid of these advisers before they poison the political atmosphere beyond repair. And do it quickly."

It follows a number of figures in the Conservative Party also calling for Cummings to be sacked.

Sir Roger Gale said Cummings was "in danger of tearing the party apart".

"I think Mr Johnson's senior political advisor Dominic Cummings is in danger of tearing the party apart," Sir Roger said.

"I think to have an unelected, foul-mouthed oaf at the heart of Downing Street is dangerous and unacceptable. And I think the time has come when Mr Johnson has to get a handle on this and have Mr Cummings frogmarched out of Downing Street."

Former minister Alistair Burt said: "The people who have been at the top of the Conservative Party, officials, in my experience have either been neutral civil servants on whom the party could depend or loyal party administrators who carry a lifetime of memory, understand the Conservative Party from top to bottom.

"The prime minister's closest adviser has no sense of this whatsoever, quite the reverse. He despises politicians, presumably despises the process of democratic politics, only sees it as a vehicle to use.

"I think that's an extremely concerning situation and the prime minister will need to look as to how to address that.

"But he is certainly not a senior adviser in the sense that they have been and if that marks a change, the sort of change colleagues have noticed when they say the party is no longer what it was, I think that's a worrying development."

Asked if he would now sack his key adviser, Johnson refused to do so, saying: "Look, advisers advise and ministers decide."

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