Lord Heseltine says 'revolutionary menace' Dominic Cummings is ‘intolerable for democracy’
Dominic Cummings' position as a government strategist has become "intolerable for democracy", Lord Heseltine has said.
The former Conservtive deputy prime minister lashed out at Boris Johnson’s top adviser, accusing him of “parading himself as the mastermind” behind the new Government’s Brexit strategy.
Writing in The Sunday Times alongside former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd, the ex-Tory peer described Mr Cummings as a “self-styled revolutionary menace” who was allowing Mr Johnson “rip the heart out” of democracy after he repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
On Wednesday, the controversial Number 10 adviser triggered a row with pro-Remain Tory MP Dominic Grieve after he claimed there was no way for parliament to stop Mr Johnson from triggering a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophie Ridge programme, Lord Heseltine said Mr Cummings’ outspoken remarks had made his position “intolerable”.
He said: "Let’s be frank… The point about having a Prime Minister and a cabinet is that they are accountable to Parliament.
“We have got this guy who is in direct contact with the British media, briefing them on policies, scathingly attacking members of the House of Commons who should be held in respect, and actually parading himself as the mastermind behind the Government.
“That is an intolerable position for democracy.”
The former Tory cabinet minister, who was suspended from the party earlier this year after declaring his support for the Liberal Democrats, added: “It is absolutely essential that parliament should be able to call to account those who represent them as ministers, but we are now being told by a particular figure, who is proud of it, that he is more of less running the show.”
The party grandee also accused Chancellor Sajid Javid of “economic irresponsbility” for increasing spending on “electoral targets” despite growing concern about the health of the UK economy ahead of a potential no-deal exit.
“I think he should start listening to all the professional advisers around him," he said.
“We all know from all the very widely extensive press reporting, from all the surveys of international financial expertise that actually the situation is serious.
“And the idea that you’ve got a government that is thrashing money around as if there is no tomorrow, aimed very specifically at very clear electoral targets is actually a policy of economic irresponsibility.”
He added: "The economy has stalled, inflation is rising, the pound is in serious difficulties, investment is on hold and there is an atmosphere of total indecision and ineffectiveness at the heart of government."
'GREAT FIGURES FROM THE PAST'
But that argument was rejected on by policing minister Kit Malthouse, who accused Lord Heseltine of being unable to “reconcile” himself to Brexit.
“Obviously there’s a lot of hyperbole being thrown about as we approach the date of 31 October,” he told the same programme.
“But in the end, even people like Lord Heseltine - great figures from the past who have never quite reconciled themselves to the idea that we are going to leave the European Union - are going to have to focus on the fact that that’s what the British people commanded us to do and that is what the Government is committed to do by the end of October.”