Brexit: Boris Johnson’s top aide in defiant warning to MPs who want to block no deal

‘Politicians don’t get to choose which votes they respect,’ says prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings 

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 07 August 2019 11:02 BST
Dominic Cummings says he 'doesn't know very much about very much'

Boris Johnson’s Vote Leave guru Dominic Cummings has sent a defiant warning to MPs fighting to block a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in public for the first time since he was installed at the heart of 10 Downing Street as senior adviser to the new prime minister, Mr Cummings said: “Politicians don’t get to choose which votes they respect.”

His comment appeared to reflect the determination of both him and the PM to deliver on the result of the 2016 EU referendum by the 31 October deadline, despite the existence of a clear majority of MPs opposed to leaving without an agreement.

Mr Cummings masterminded the Vote Leave referendum campaign and was credited with coming up with the “Take Back Control” slogan.

He was speaking amid ongoing controversy over his reported claim that MPs have left it too late to block no deal.

Reports at the weekend – which have not been denied – suggested he told colleagues that if the Commons passed a vote of no confidence in the PM, Mr Johnson could simply call a general election in November, ensuring parliament was not sitting as the UK crashed out of the EU.

The prospect of Mr Johnson defying the convention that a PM must resign if he fails to command the confidence of the house sparked alarm among some Tory MPs.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve insisted there were “a number of ways” in which MPs could block no deal, and said Mr Cummings’ argument showed “a mixture of his characteristic arrogance with ignorance”.

Mr Cummings, carrying a Vote Leave tote bag, told Sky News: “I don’t think I’m arrogant. I don’t know very much about very much.”

And in a clear indication that he does not fear MPs’ plans to use parliamentary mechanisms to prevent no deal, he added: “Mr Grieve? We will see what he is right about.”

Asked how no-deal preparations are going, Cummings said: “Great. The most simple thing is the prime minister believes that politicians don’t get to choose which votes they respect. That’s the critical issue.”

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