Ken Clarke warns Dominic Cummings that he must now ‘vanish’

PUBLISHED: 10:47 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 19 February 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key adviser Dominic Cummings leaving his north London home. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key adviser Dominic Cummings leaving his north London home. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Veteran politician Ken Clarke has called on Boris Johnson to rein in his chief adviser Dominic Cummings following his plan to recruit ‘misfits and weirdos’ into Number 10.

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The former Tory chancellor said the brains behind the Vote Leave campaign would only last in the job if his "personal appearances stop" and he goes back to being a "back room operator".

Cummings made headlines before the cabinet reshuffle when, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, he told broadcast reporters that cartoon superheroes would do a better job than Johnson's then-current crop of close circle ministers.

"PJ Masks will do a greater job than all of them put together," he said, when about the reshuffle.

Leaving his house on Tuesday, after the resignation of Andrew Sabisky, Cummings suggested people should read about "super-forecasters".

He told awaiting reporters: "Read Philip Tetlock's Superforecasters instead of political pundits who don't know what they're talking about."

MORE: Cummings says people should listen to 'superforecasters' rather than 'ignorant pundits'

Clarke told ITV News' Acting Prime Minister podcast that former chief advisers did not "dress exotically and pose for the photographers before giving, quite blatantly, briefings all over the place about what their views are on everything".

He said: "Oh you can't go on like this, you can't govern a country and explain what you're doing for the public by the medium of leaks from an exotic aide in No10."

"To be the back room power behind the scenes which is pretty well every PM in my time has needed somebody like that," he continued to explain.

The former Tory MP added: "Boris may not be interested in the detail of policy but he's not an idiot he's a very bright man and the Cummings thing can only last if Mr Cummings' personal appearances stop and he vanishes and he goes back to being the back room apparatchik which he, of course, you need and what he's supposed to be doing.'

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