Rishi Sunak 'wanted secret deal with me to win next election', Dominic Cummings claims

No 10 has not denied Mr Cummings’ account but said no job offer was made, ITV News Political Reporter Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe reports.

Dominic Cummings has claimed Rishi Sunak sought a “secret deal” to help him stay in Number 10. The prime minister, whose party is trailing behind Labour in the polls, reportedly asked Boris Johnson’s ex-chief aide for advice on how to stay in power ahead of the 2024 general election. Mr Cummings urged him to abandon his cautious economic approach, hold an emergency budget, settle the NHS strikes and double the threshold at which people pay the 40p rate of income tax from £50,271 to £100,000, the Sunday Times reported. The former Vote Leave campaign director, who was behind the 2019 Tory election drive that ended in a landslide victory, also reportedly advocated leaving the European Convention on Human Rights.

Without denying Mr Cummings' account, a Downing Street source said: “It was a broad discussion about politics and campaigning, no job was offered.”

Former adviser Dominic Cummings left Boris Johnson's No 10 in autumn 2020 after a bitter power struggle. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

The pair were said to have met in December last year in London and in July in North Yorkshire. Mr Cummings told the paper: “He wanted a secret deal in which I delivered the election and he promised to take government seriously after the election. “But I’d rather the Tories lose than continue in office without prioritising what’s important and the voters. “The post-2016 Tories are summed up by the fact that Sunak, like Johnson, would rather lose than take government seriously. Both thought their MPs agreed with them, and both were right.”

The former aide said he was only prepared to offer his help if Mr Sunak would commit to prioritising the “most critical things”, citing nuclear weapons infrastructure, pandemics, Ministry of Defence procurement, artificial intelligence and “broken core government institutions”.

Following the Sunday Times report, Mr Cummings posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Don’t know why someone at No10 blabbed about this but … Brief statement on Times story about the PM asking me to smash Labour and win the election, what I asked for in return (e.g sorting out the horror show of our nuclear weapons infrastructure, pandemic defences), & why we couldn’t do a deal.” Mr Cummings left Mr Johnson’s No 10 in autumn 2020 after a power struggle before admitting he had been working to bring an end to the prime minister’s tenure. He said discussions about getting rid of the then-prime minister started within days of the Tories winning the 2019 election.

Labour said the latest revelation showed Mr Sunak is “out of ideas” and relying on “the ghosts of Tories past”. “Out-of-touch Rishi Sunak is asking the wrong question if he thinks the lockdown rule-breaking architect of Boris Johnson’s failed premiership is the answer,” shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said. “After promising to restore integrity to Downing Street, he’s secretly begging Mr Barnard Castle to run Downing Street again.

"From Cameron to Cummings, the prime minister is admitting he’s out of ideas and too weak to come up with his own.”

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