Former Director of Communications Labels Dominic Cummings A "Powerful Figure"

31 August 2019, 11:24

David Cameron's Head of Communications Sir Craig Oliver tells Matt Frei Boris Johnson's key aide Dominic Cummings "has a lot of control" following sacking of Sonia Khan.

Matt Frei was asking Sir Craig Oliver whether Dominic Cummings was overplaying his hand in his role as Johnson's strategist, following his role in the sacking of Sajid Javid's adviser.

The former director of communications under David Cameron's premiership told the LBC presenter that there is a "fine line between having complete discipline in government and having a reign of terror."

Pressed on which of the two options he thought was most appropriate to describe Cummings' current role, Sir Craig was cautious in his answer saying that he did not know the facts of the case.

Matt Frei asked how much power Cummings has at number 10
Matt Frei asked how much power Cummings has at number 10. Picture: PA

He continued: "The thing I would like to say that is really important here is there's a difference between effective campaigning and effective governing.

"In an effective campaign you need complete fingertip control of everything, you need to make sure everyone's singing from the same hymn sheet and that one person is very clearly in charge. Governing is a far more complex thing.

"I suspect Dominic Cummings doesn't really have an intention to stay around in Government for a very long period of time. What he wants to do is deliver Brexit."

Sir Craig Oliver was Cameron's Head of Communications
Sir Craig Oliver was Cameron's Head of Communications. Picture: PA

Matt Frei then asked the former aide to David Cameron whether he thought Dominic Cummings actually "running the entire show" of Johnson's administration.

Sir Craig Oliver responded: "Look these things are complicated, he is definitely an extremely powerful figure who has a lot of control over things like a delivery of a hard Brexit and sub-committees that he is basically and effectively running at the moment.

"He clearly is making sure that special advisers understand that they answer to him. He is setting the pace and also delivering on the kind of guerilla warfare of campaigning that has been so effective for him in the past.

"I suspect a lot of people including him are thinking 'have I maybe overstepped the mark here and am I in a situation where if I keep pushing this too hard, people will really start pushing back at me?"