Dominic Cummings says he’s not certain Brexit was a good idea

Architect of Vote Leave campaign says anyone sure on issues like Brexit has ‘a screw loose’

Dominic Cummings, the architect of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, has said he is not certain that Brexit was a good idea. Mr Cummings, who was Boris Johnson's most senior adviser until he left Downing Street in acrimony last November, said it was impossible to say if Britain made the right choice.

“I think anyone who says they’re sure about questions like that [Brexit] has got a screw loose, whether you’re on the remain side or our side. I think one of the reasons why we won is precisely, in Vote Leave we didn’t think that we’re definitely right and Remainers are all idiots or traitors or anything else… we never thought like that then and still don’t and I don’t know.

"I think it's perfectly reasonable to say Brexit was a mistake and the history will prove that, of course it's reasonable for some people to think that," he told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg in Dominic Cummings: the Interview on BBC Two on Tuesday evening.

Mr Cummings, who was central to both the referendum campaign and to Mr Johnson’s election victory in December 2016, said he was confident in his judgment about people and their suitability for jobs in government.


“Those sort of things I think I’ve shown good judgement on over the last few years. But questions like is Brexit a good idea? No-one on earth knows if that’s, what the answer to that is,” he said.

“I think that obviously I think Brexit was a good thing... I think that the way in which the world has worked out since 2016 vindicates the arguments that Vote Leave made in all sorts of ways. I think it’s good that, that Brexit happened.”

Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street after a power struggle with Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie, said she wanted to get rid of him and his Vote Leave faction in Downing Street within weeks of the 2019 election victory. He said that he and his allies were already discussing the possibility of ousting Mr Johnson in January 2020.

“At that point we were already saying by the summer either we’ll all have gone from here or we’ll be in the process of trying to get rid of him and get someone else in as prime minister. He doesn’t have a plan, he doesn’t know how to be Prime Minister and we only got him in there because we had to solve a certain problem not because he was the right person to be running the country,” he said.

Mr Cummings suggested that he and his Vote Leave allies had a responsibility to think about how to run the country better and suggested that they could set up a new political grouping.

“You can set up some kind of new party, a party to end the existing parties to kill them off and create something different. You could try and do erm, a sort of version of what we did essentially i.e. take over an existing party and try and bend it to something that’s different,” he said.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times