Downing Street parties: Boris Johnson's ex-aide Dominic Cummings moves closer to exacting his revenge on his former boss – Steve Cardownie

I wrote some time ago that Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former top aide, could prove to be a significant thorn in the Prime Minister’s side and so it has proved.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:45 pm
Boris Johnson and his then special advisor Dominic Cummings leave from the rear of Downing Street in 2019 (Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson and his then special advisor Dominic Cummings leave from the rear of Downing Street in 2019 (Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

His latest revelations are that the PM was warned about Downing Street holding a drinks party and what he told Parliament about the event (that he thought it was work-related) was untrue.

Cummings asserts that Johnson was well aware of the nature of the gathering saying that he “knew he was at a drinks party cos he was told it was a drinks party and it was actually a drinks party”.

The fact that another two former No 10 officials told the BBC that they remember Dominic Cummings telling them that he had warned the PM that the gathering broke the rules and that it should not go ahead has only added to the PM’s woes.

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Cummings has said that the concerns he expressed to Johnson about the party were “waived aside”, casting considerable doubt on the PM’s statement to Parliament that “Number 10 is a big department with the garden as an extension of the office which has been in constant use because of the role of fresh air in stopping the virus. I believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

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The fact that the original invitation to the party invited staff to “bring your own booze” to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” also clearly indicates that it was indeed a social event and against the rules in place at the time.

As more reports of parties being held in Downing Street during the lockdown surface (with the current total standing at ten), it re-enforces the accusation that a particular culture exists within Downing Street. This culture involves a disdain for the general public and an inherent belief that what applies to them does not apply to those who populate some offices in No 10.

This whole unsavoury episode demonstrates that a rotten core exists within this Tory government. The fact that the majority of Conservative MPs are weighing up their own re-election prospects if Johnson leads their party into the next general election, rather than removing him now adequately demonstrates that they are willing to sacrifice the principles of democracy on the altar of self-preservation.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray must surely now interview Dominic Cummings and the other former officials who have stuck their heads above the parapet before publishing her report.

Its conclusions may well offer Boris Johnson a lifeline but the stench of this whole affair is unlikely to go away. His reputation has already been trashed over the years due to his selfish behaviour, where he has demonstrated that the only thing that mattered was his naked ambition to rise to the top in politics.

His bumbling ineptitude disguises that what lies beneath is a ruthless streak, hellbent on destroying whatever gets in his way to achieve his objective.

I have little time for Dominic Cummings, but it looks as though hell hath no fury like a political advisor scorned and that he is determined to exact his revenge on Boris Johnson. Whether he will or not we shall soon see.

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