Dominic Cummings calls Lia Nici ‘useful idiot’ in ‘Partygate’ defence
The PM’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings has labelled Grimsby MP Lia Nici a “useful idiot” as he refutes claims of a ‘No 10 drinking culture’.
Speaking on Twitter, Boris Johnson’s former right hand man said: “If you’re babbling about ‘drinking culture’ – which did not exist May 2020…you’re a useful idiot for the [PM’s] spin doctors.”
Ms Nici spoke of this supposed drinking culture in N0 10 last week, telling BBC Radio Humberside: “There’s a blur between people working and it being acceptable to drink alcohol and specifically going out to have something social to drink alcohol and the PM would not necessarily be aware of the distinction of those.”
Cumming’s has however published a long blog post on substack, disputing this theory of a drinking culture in the offices, saying:
“I and at least one other spad [special adviser]… said that this seemed to be against the rules and should not happen. We were ignored.
“A real ‘culture problem’ in No 10 is not people having a drink in the evening, it’s that so few people in No10/70 Whitehall work really hard,” he added.
Deputy PM Dominic Raab also disputes the drinking culture claims, telling Sky News: “I do not personally recognise the caricature that they were all partying, this was incredibly serious and difficult and a dedicated team.”
Cummings also disagrees that the PM had no knowledge that it was a party, saying that he and a senior official told Boris Johnson that it was a party but he “waved it aside”.
On Tuesday, Johnson denied being warned about these parties, as Cummings alleges, saying: nobody warned e that it was against the rules…I would have remembered that.”
Cummings also claims that the “PM lied to parliament about parties” as he claims the “PM agreed it [the party on 20 May] should.”
Asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether a PM should resign if they have willingly lied to the House of Commons, Raab said “he would normally”.
“If it’s not corrected, if it’s lying, and deliberate…if it’s not corrected immediately, it would normally, under the ministerial code and the governance around Parliament, be a resigning matter,” he continued.