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Boris Johnson obsessed with monuments to himself ‘like Roman emperors’, Dominic Cummings says

Exiled aide calls his campaign to topple prime minister ‘an unpleasant but necessary job’ – like ‘fixing the drains’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 31 January 2022 16:55 GMT
Related video: ‘I get it and I will fix it’: Boris Johnson announces changes to the way Downing Street is run

Dominic Cummings says Boris Johnson is obsessed with monuments in his memory “like the Roman emperors” – as he describes how it is his “duty” to get rid of him.

In his latest attack on the prime minister, the former chief aide said he only got excited about “Big Ben’s bongs” and “looking at maps” to find places to build things in his honour.

Mr Cummings called his campaign to topple Mr Johnson “an unpleasant but necessary job” like “fixing the drains”, calling him “a complete ****wit”.

The pair’s bitter fallout has seen the exiled aide first reveal the lockdown-busting No 10 garden party, in May 2020, that has plunged the prime minister into his biggest crisis.

Speaking to New York magazine, Mr Cummings described his former boss’s focus on the next day’s papers, saying: “In January 2020, I was sitting in No 10 with Boris and the complete ****wit is just babbling on about: ‘Will Big Ben bong for Brexit on 31 January?’”

Another time, he alleged, Mr Johnson told him: “I’m the ****ing king around here and I’m going to do what I want.’

“That’s not OK. He’s not the king. He can’t do what he wants,” Mr Cummings said, adding: “Once you realise someone is operating like that, then your duty is to get rid of them, not to just prop them up.”

The prime minister muses on “what would a Roman emperor do?” with the power he had, he told the magazine.

“So, the only thing he was really interested in – genuinely excited about – was, like, looking at maps. Where could he order the building of things?” Mr Cummings said.

He fantasised about “monuments to him in an Augustine fashion, ‘I will provide the money. I will be a river to my people. I will provide the money that builds the train station in Birmingham.’ Or whatever.

“And it will have statues to me, and people will remember me after I am dead like they did the Roman emperors.’”

The warning comes amid fears – even among senior Conservative MPs – of a Partygate “cover-up”, amid a growing belief that crucial parts of Sue Gray’s inquiry will never be revealed.

A heavily-redacted draft of the civil servant’s report will be released, probably on Monday, but with references to parties that the police are investigating stripped out after the police demanded it.

By the time the Met investigation is over, the Gray report will be “out of date”, as one government insider put it – and it will be in Mr Johnson’s power to decide not to hold a further investigation.

Tory MPs who are wavering over whether to submit demands for a no-confidence vote in his leadership, while they “waited for Sue Gray”, are likely to continue to sit on their hands.

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