After the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee summoned former Vote Leave man Dominic Cummings to appear before them, Michael “Oiky” Gove’s former chief polecat dug his heels in: “I will not give evidence to this Committee under any circumstances. (I may to other Committees depending on behaviour.)”
Dominic Cummings - doesn't get it
But Alexander Nix, former Cambridge Analytica supremo, has seen sense and will now be appearing before Damian Collins and his team. So this puts Dom in what Spike Milligan might have called An Extremely Difficult Position. “Former campaign director of Vote Leave, Dominic Cummings, had also been issued with formal summons to appear next Tuesday 22nd May but has refused to appear on that date. The Committee will therefore be reporting the matter of Cummings’s refusal to appear to the House” told Collins.
Damian Collins MP
And the BBC Daily Politics team has confirmed that this is no mere threat: “Dominic Cummings, who was a senior figure in the Vote Leave campaign, is being reported to the Commons by a committee of MPs over his refusal to take part in an inquiry into fake news”. So what is Cummings’ response to these developments?
First off, Dom has decided that the Facebook letter, which exposes Vote Leave and ostensibly separate BeLeave as working together, shows that Facebook is wrong. “Correspondence from Facebook was published and used by the Committee to suggest that Vote Leave/AIQ have lied about when they started working together” he tells, but what the letter showed is Vote Leave and BeLeave very obviously working together.
Perhaps Dom missed that. And he concedes “This isn’t actually important viz the legal claims and the EC investigation but I make the point in the interests of trying to clarify FACTS - so far the fake news inquiry has spread fake news around the world and clarified little. Also note how the Committee drops correspondence on the day of the hearing to maximise their chances of creating embarrassing moments for witnesses. This is the behaviour of people happy to see false memes spread, not the behaviour of truth-seeking MPs”. Then he gets on to his appearance, or the lack of it.
“The Committee is now threatening me with ‘contempt of Parliament’. Their behaviour in seeking headlines rather than cooperating with witnesses over dates for evidence is the sort of behaviour that has increased the contempt of the public for MPs over the last 20 years, which of course contributed to the referendum result. The Committee doesn’t understand Vote Leave”. Think it does, Dom. But do go on.
New Cummings residence shock horror
“We had to deal with threats from MPs every day for a year, including from the PM/Chancellor and their henchmen who could actually back up serious threats. We ignored that. Why would you think we’re going to worry about EMPTY threats? If you think I care about ‘reputational damage’, you are badly advised”. Well, well, well.
So instead of stopping and thinking, Dominic Cummings has decided to lecture and smear the DCMS Committee, as well as doubling down on his stubborn and foolish refusal to appear. This is not going to end well - but only for him.