1: Dyson denial
Dominic Cummings opens his statement with a flat denial of No 10’s claim that he leaked text messages from Boris Johnson to Sir James Dyson, in which the PM promised to ‘fix’ a tax problem amid the race to develop ventilators for Covid patients.
Mr Cummings says he does not have copies of the relevant exchanges on his phone and is happy to co-operate with a leak inquiry.
He points the finger at the Treasury, saying officials have told him Rishi Sunak’s department was sent screenshots of the PM’s texts to Sir James.
2: Fiancee farce
Mr Cummings claims the PM discussed halting the hunt for the so-called ‘chatty rat’ – who leaked news of a second lockdown – after evidence pointed to a friend of his fiancee.
Mr Cummings stresses that he was cleared of any involvement in the leak by the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case. ‘All the evidence’, he says, led to another No 10 aide: Henry Newman, a close friend of Miss Symonds and Michael Gove. However, Mr Cummings claims the PM warned that sacking Mr Newman would ’cause me very serious problems with Carrie’, and even considered halting the inquiry. The claim was denied last night by No 10.
Mr Cummings claims the PM discussed halting the hunt for the so-called ‘chatty rat’ – who leaked news of a second lockdown – after evidence pointed to a friend of his fiancee
3: Flat-out wrong
Washing his hands of any involvement with lavish renovations in Downing Street, Mr Cummings again pleads not guilty to leaking.
Playing down suggestions he was the source of damaging stories about the flat’s decor, he says the PM had ‘stopped speaking to me about this matter’ last year because of his opposition to getting donors to pay for it.
His offer to assist with a possible Electoral Commission inquiry into the affair will set alarm bells ringing for No 10, which has made frantic efforts to play down the issue for weeks.
4: I’ll co-operate (a bit)
Here, Mr Cummings says he will co-operate with efforts to get to the bottom of some – but not necessarily all – leaks.
While his statement is shot through with a sense of wounded innocence, his refusal to answer ‘every allegation’ is likely to be seized upon by critics as an admission of some level of wrongdoing.
Having masterminded the 2016 campaign to lead Britain out of the EU, they then delivered the biggest Tory majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher in 2019’s general election
5: Broadside for Boris
This devastating personal attack on the PM demonstrates just how far relations have deteriorated between the two men.
Having masterminded the 2016 campaign to lead Britain out of the EU, they then delivered the biggest Tory majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher in 2019’s general election.
Many are likely to wonder whether Mr Cummings is in any position to act as an arbiter of integrity following his infamous trip to Durham during last year’s lockdown.
6: This is just the start
Mr Cummings calls for an ‘urgent Parliamentary inquiry’ into the conduct of the Government during the pandemic – including the accusations levelled at him this week.
In an ominous development for the PM, he threatens to set the ball rolling when he appears before MPs next month to discuss the handling of the Covid crisis, which he has previously said went ‘catastrophically wrong’.