Since the Electoral Commission began to probe the activities of the Vote Leave campaign, following the revelations from whistleblowers Chris Wylie and Shahmir Sanni, some of that organisation’s principals have been most reluctant to engage with the Parliament whose sovereignty they pretended was supreme.
Matthew Elliott, who showed summary disrespect for Parliament in the run-up to the EU referendum, when he had to be summonsed to appear before Andrew Tyrie’s committee, has been happy to brief the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg with his spin and deceit, but appear before Damian Collins and the DCMS committee? No chance.
Worse, his co-conspirator Dominic Cummings has flat-out refused to appear, despite a summons being issued. He merely took to his blog and blustered “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”. This would not end well, but only for him.
As the Observer has reported today, “A cross-party group of MPs is demanding new powers that would force witnesses to give evidence before parliament or face possible imprisonment, as anger grows over the refusal of the former Vote Leave director, Dominic Cummings … Anger at Cummings’s refusal to come before MPs has intensified since Vote Leave was fined £61,000 and referred to the police after the Electoral Commission found last week that it had broken electoral law”. There was more.
“The Observer understands that an interim report by the DCMS committee, chaired by Tory MP Damian Collins, will call within days for an inquiry into how to beef up the powers of parliament to ensure people called to give evidence cannot simply refuse to attend”. Cummings picked the wrong fight this time. He will ultimately lose it.
So what of that blog where Dom tells the world that he is right, and everyone who disagrees is wrong? There has been no post published on it for more than a month (18th June was the last instalment). The Observer notes that “Cummings was not available for comment on Saturday”. His only route to his adoring public appears now to be leaking to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
MPs across the political spectrum - Paul Farrelly, Collins, Nicky Morgan, Sarah Wollaston, Hillary Benn, Dominic Grieve - have all passed severely adverse comment on Cummings’ rank hypocrisy in claiming to want to make Parliament sovereign, then treating it with contempt. It is extremely doubtful that his old pal Michael “Oiky” Gove will ride to his rescue this time. He has reached the end of his road.
Dominic Cummings is not above the law, and is most certainly not in a position to defy the will of the Parliament he spent so much time allegedly championing. It is now time for this overhyped and overinflated ego to be brought down to earth.