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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Dominic Cummings as his senior adviser

Author: Sourajit Chatterjee
by Sourajit Chatterjee
Posted: May 09, 2021
dominic cummings

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Dominic Cummings as his senior adviser, the latest in a series of controversial appointments to his team.

Dominic Cummings was formerly head of Vote Leave, the successful campaign group in 2016 that led Britain out of the EU. He helped mastermind President Donald Trump's election campaign and has had long-standing links with Russian cyber activities.

The appointment is a major departure from convention for a British prime minister, who historically appoints party loyalists to key roles to give them access to the full range of expertise within their party.

Cummings said he was looking forward "to working on many urgent items close to The PM's heart".

Dr. Cummings said: "I think he's been frustrated by the civil service over the last two years and it's my job to try to persuade them that they should be actively pleased that he's there."

Dominic Cummings said: "I've had entire series of conversations with Boris Johnson about how much we despise the civil service, we think they're completely useless, they're completely intermingled with the elites."

"We intend to make life very uncomfortable for the civil service… I don't even call them civil servants any more, I call them 'The Government'."

"Civil servants are an instrument of government policy and that has to change. They're not a neutral body deciding what is best for Britain. They're the people implementing what the political class [examine] and decide should be implemented."

The appointment may further irk British media outlets, who have reported extensively on Cummings' links with Russian officials.

Cummings is a former Cambridge classmate of Alexander Nix, who was CEO of Cambridge Analytica and is currently suspended from Facebook after the company's data harvesting scandal.

Alexander Nix was one of Donald Trump's top digital strategists during his election campaign in 2016. He later went on to join Mark Zuckerberg’s team at Facebook to help work on its anti-cyberbullying measures following intense international condemnation. He said: "I'd be delighted to help out. It's something I've been very focused on for a long time."

Journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who has investigated Cambridge Analytica's role in both the Brexit and Trump campaigns, said: "This isn’t about what’s legal or illegal. This is about values. About whether you think that it’s acceptable that somebody who has been so closely associated with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data harvesting is now working at the heart of government (…)"

"This is about whether we want our government to act in the interests of the people – or to further help powerful corporations and individuals secretly influence them."

Dr. Dominic Cummings said: "I'm not doing anything with Russia. I’m doing a project with Cambridge Analytica who are trying to prevent the internet being hacked by the Russians."

"We’re gonna try and make it much harder for people to do that. And if we succeed, I think it will be a really big deal for world peace."

Dr. Dominic Cummings has held a series of other roles:

Dominic Cummings has a history of organizing campaigns on social media: he was involved in the launch of Vote Leave, which is reported to have changed its official designation from pressure group to political party in order effectively to bypass electoral spending limits.

In July 2016, the UK Electoral Commission reported that Vote Leave had missed several deadlines to provide invoices and evidence to support its spending return as a non-party campaigner during the EU referendum. Vote Leave stated that there was no need to produce invoices or receipts for their administrative costs, which would have amounted only £50,000. Their initial spending return was accepted by the Electoral Commission but auditors were unable to verify £6m of payments.

An investigation into Cummings

  • work in relation to Vote Leave has been ongoing since 2016 by the Parliamentary Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Cummings has been granted a string of adjournments as he failed to provide critical information requested. Finally, in July 2018 the DCMS said it will publish the report once Cummings and other un-named individuals have been given an opportunity to respond.

Cummings' links with Russian cyber activities started before Trump's election campaign, when he was involved with a mysterious "troll factory" in St Petersburg and later helped set up Cambridge Analytica.

He was reportedly recruited by Russian officials to hack into the Democratic National Committee's servers after being recruited by Alexander Nix at Cambridge Analytica.

This led to allegations of Russian infiltration into the American election. Cummings has denied this.

Cummings has also been involved in computer hacking activities on behalf of Russia: he reportedly worked alongside hacker Guccifer 2.0: Previously, the DCMS had asked Cummings to supply evidence to prove his claim, but has not received a response and so no further action will be taken.

CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix. said in January 2017; "I haven’t met him [Dominic Cummings] since I left Cambridge Analytica".

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Author: Sourajit Chatterjee

Sourajit Chatterjee

Member since: Feb 10, 2020
Published articles: 2

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