Tory peer calls for Dominic Cummings to be stripped of Westminster pass

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:33 03 October 2019

Dominic Cummings in Downing Street. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

Dominic Cummings in Downing Street. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Dominic Cummings should not be permitted to roam freely around the Palace of Westminster, according to a senior Tory peer.

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In a letter to the speakers of both houses of parliament, Lord Hayward has called for Boris Johnson's senior adviser to lose his pass for the building.

His demand comes just six months after Cummings - who led the Vote Leave offensive - was found in contempt of parliament having refused to provide evidence to MPs investigating the campaign.

In his letter to Lords and Commons speakers Lord Fowler and John Bercow, Lord Hayward said Cummings' ability to hold a pass should be reviewed "as a matter of urgency".

He added: "To most people I am sure it would seem inappropriate to issue a pass to someone when they have been found, only a few weeks earlier, to be in contempt of our procedures. A pass which gives them rights to move freely about and use the facilities of the Palace.

"I would ask therefore that this be reviewed as a matter of urgency and, if appropriate, that the pass is withdrawn until the contempt is purged.

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"It will probably be argued that once issued the pass should not be withdrawn unless a specific offence is committed.

"However, the relevant parallel would appear to be that all special advisers recently had their terms and conditions arbitrarily changed even though they were still working for the same minister in the same role."

Penning a letter to the parliamentary speakers is not the first time Lord Hayward has raised concerns about Cummings' conduct in recent months.

Following the sudden dismissal of Treasury special adviser Sonia Khan in August, Lord Hayward was one of several peers who questioned the influence of the prime minister's top aide.

Cummings had accused Khan of maintaining contact with the office of Philip Hammond and was subsequently escorted from Downing Street by armed police. Reports suggest she has been offered a £40,000 payoff.

In the House of Lords, Lord Hayward asked: "Is it not acutely embarrassing to this government that they have put parliament in a position whereby it is granting a pass to somebody who is deemed to be in contempt of it?

"I hope that any compensation to Sonia Khan comes not from the pocket of the taxpayer, but from Dominic Cummings."

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