Dominic Grieve: Boris Johnson Is "Like A Dictator" And Dominic Cummings Is A "Rat"

22 October 2019, 20:59 | Updated: 22 October 2019, 21:02

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve says Boris Johnson is "behaving like a dictator" and likens chief advisor Dominic Cummings to a scuttling rat.

Former Tory MP Dominic Grieve said the government are "playing games" at the moment.

"It's partly blame games. It's 'if you don't do what we want, you are obstructing the will of the people', so it's rather unpleasant. It's stupid games because they're trying to concertina the time for consideration of complex constitutional legislation to a ridiculous extent."

Grieve also said that Theresa May's government anticipated her deal to get through in eight weeks and while it be advantageous in some way to the Prime Minister, "it's also really corrosive to trust."

He said a lot of the MPs that voted for Boris Johnson's deal and the Programme Motion did it "with gritted teeth and real anger at this game-playing keeps going on."

Iain said that listeners may consider him hypocritical because the Benn Act passed in one day and could be considered an example of game-playing.

Dominic Grieve: Boris Johnson is "behaving like a dictator"
Dominic Grieve: Boris Johnson is "behaving like a dictator". Picture: PA

He said that the Benn Act was brought in because they knew "the government were plotting to prorogue Parliament" and "we also were being told in mid-August that the Prime Minister intended to crash us out with no deal, that was the impression he decided as a matter of propaganda to convey. So was it surprising the Benn Act came in in response to that?"

He continued that they had to act quickly in order to pass it and manage the prorogation of Parliament.

"I'm beginning to think he does this quite deliberately in order to point the accusatory finger at Parliament. But this is really childish, but this childish thing is continuing. To my mind, Ken Clarke is right: there is nothing to prevent him continuing steadily with this Bill.

"He's behaving like a dictator quite frankly."

Dominic Grieve then said a three month Brexit extension was longer than he'd anticipated.

"It seems to be me that it needs at least a fortnight in the House of Commons and there's got to be intervals," he said, insisting that MPs shouldn't be rushed into making decisions on amendments and need time to reflect.

"I would've thought if the Prime Minister sets out to do this Bill now on a sensible timetable, I would expect the Bill would be through both Houses of Parliament by the end of November."

Iain asked whether the government ought to consider an extension offered by the EU which in theory would be until 31 January but rumours have circled could include a break clause in November. A break clause would enable the UK to leave the EU before the extension deadline if legislation has been approved.

Dominic Cummings "scuttled off like a rat", said Dominic Grieve
Dominic Cummings "scuttled off like a rat", said Dominic Grieve. Picture: PA

"Of course it should. It doesn't even have to be a break clause on mid-November and early December, it can be a break clause whenever you get to the point and you say we've finished," said Grieve.

Iain challenged that the government will say there has to be a break clause otherwise "it gives you and your colleagues the incentive to drag this out a lot longer than they would want it to be dragged out for."

Grieve said he didn't think that was right and if there was a sensible timetable, it couldn't be dragged out.

"At the moment there is no timetable which means it can be dragged out. That's how stupid the government has been. I think they're actually playing to a completely different audience and a completely different game.

"I think it's quite deliberately being done in order to raise anger by some sections of the public with MPs.

"This is almost Cummings' doing, he appears to be the guru. He was actually lurking outside the chamber this afternoon, it was rather odd. When someone pointed out that he was there, he sort of scuttled off like a rat."

Iain laughed and said: "So we've had Boris Johnson as a dictator and Dominic Cummings as a rat, and you're calling for more polite discourse."