Lynn Barber

‘I’m plagued by worries of disaster’: an interview with Dominic Cummings

I’ve been waiting over a year to meet Dominic Cummings. Any time Mary Wakefield asked me to interview someone for The Spectator, I said: ‘I’d rather interview your husband.’ And she promised he would do it, one day. I began to lose faith, but at last the day dawns. On the way to see him I run into Mary and their son Ceddy outside their home in north London and she takes me to the kitchen to meet Dom. He is friendly, hospitable, takes me to sit in the garden to talk, and gently shoos Ceddy indoors.

The one thing everyone, friend and enemy alike, agrees about Dominic Cummings is that he has a habit of telling the truth. So I am quite surprised, to put it mildly, when he tells me that Boris offered him a peerage when he left No. 10. Seriously? Lord Cummings of Barnard Castle? ‘No! He said it but then he almost immediately started laughing and realised that that was not exactly the sort of thing that would buy me off. All reports about me getting big payoffs are all false.’

Dom walked out of No. 10 on 13 November and was paid his salary till the end of December, but that was it. Rather than sell his story for a lot of money, he chose to save it for the Commons Select Committee. He now writes a subscription-only Substack blog, charging £100 a year, which has more than 1,500 subscribers.

He told Boris last summer that he planned to leave on 18 December because that felt like a natural end. He’d always said he didn’t plan to stay long and he never wanted a career in Westminster — ‘I don’t like the people and they don’t like me’. But he says his departure was hastened when Carrie —at the time the Prime Minister’s fiancée, now his wife — started plotting to remove his allies from No.

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Written by
Lynn Barber
Lynn Barber is a former Sunday Times journalist and author of An Education and A Curious Career.

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