FORMER Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings has constantly been in the headlines in the last 18 months, whether for his Barnard Castle eye test or his blistering attacks on the Government since leaving office.

The Northern Echo:

It was no surprise that the nation was gripped to tonight's hour-long BBC interview with Laura Kuenssberg.

Here are five of the biggest revelations from the interview. 

Barnard Castle eye test

Mr Cummings said he did not ignore the rules by driving to Durham with coronavirus and then driving to Barnard Castle to “test his eyesight”.

The Northern Echo:

Speaking about his Barnard Castle trip, Mr Cummings said "security problems" at his home was the main reason behind his journey north and the way the whole situation was handled was "completely wrong". 

“The country was in a terrible situation, the Prime Minister nearly died. It many seem odd but at the time it didn’t seem odd at all. If you’re going to drive 300 miles to London tomorrow, go and drive up and down the road now and see how you feel about the whole thing.

"It was just about seeing if I was okay. If you can't drive 30 miles you know you're not going to be able to drive 300 miles the next day. It was as simple as that.

“I understand that people were upset but as I did not ignore the rules, I had been discussing security problems with cabinet officials for months. It was reasonable to move regardless of the coronavirus situation.”

Relationship with Boris Johnson

Formerly an aide to Michael Gove when he was education secretary, Mr Cummings said his relationship with Mr Johnson was starting to break down “by summer 2020”, with him and former director of communications Lee Cain departing by November.

The Northern Echo:

Explaining the split, Mr Cummings said the Prime Minister was “fed up with the media portrayal of him being a kind of puppet for the Vote Leave team, it was driving him round the bend”.


On Brexit, Mr Cummings said that anyone who was “sure about questions” like Britain’s divorce from the European Union has “got a screw loose” but argued it had so far been “a good thing”.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say Brexit was a mistake…of course it’s reasonable for some people to think that,” he continued.

The Northern Echo:

“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 Brexit happened.”


He also said there were disagreements over the strategy on handling the pandemic, for improving the country and over the-now Mrs Johnson’s increasing influence over how Government was run.

“I had a plan, I was trying to get things done, he didn’t have a plan… he didn’t have an agenda,” he continued.

The Northern Echo:

“You know the Prime Minister’s only agenda is buy more trains, buy more buses, have more bikes and build the world’s most stupid tunnel to Ireland – that’s it,” he said.

“Also he knew that we basically disagreed about what was happening on Covid and he knew that I was blaming him for not having acted in September, which I was.”

The pair had a “big argument”, according to Mr Cummings, after Mr Johnson’s then-girlfriend called for people to be fired or promoted “in ways that I thought were unethical and unprofessional”.

The Queen

In an interview, Mr Cummings told the BBC: “I said to him (Boris Johnson), there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen.

The Northern Echo:

“What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?

“You obviously can’t go.

“I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane.

“And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, holy shit, I can’t go.”

Their first in-person meeting was not until June 23 this year.