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Dominic Cummings: the abrasive Vote Leave architect to advise Boris Johnson

Among his initiatives was the controversial battle bus slogan used by Brexiteers pledging more money for the NHS after withdrawal from the EU.

Dominic Cummings, campaign director, Vote Leave, giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee (House of Commons/PA)
Dominic Cummings, campaign director, Vote Leave, giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee (House of Commons/PA)

A Brexit battle bus daubed with much-criticised claims, being found in contempt of Parliament after refusing to appear before MPs investigating misinformation and calling David Davis “thick as mince”.

Those are some of the controversies and caustic remarks surrounding Dominic Cummings, the combative architect of the Vote Leave campaign who Boris Johnson is expected to appoint as a senior adviser.

Born in Durham and educated at Oxford University, he rose to notoriety in politics first as an adviser to Michael Gove and then as campaign director at the official Brexit group.

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Dominic Cummings was behind the slogans used on the battle bus used by Brexiteers including Boris Johnson during the referendum campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Many will know him for being portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in a Channel 4 drama, as well as his role in covering a red bus with the £350 million NHS claim.

That, or the contempt finding in March for failing to appear before MPs investigating so-called fake news.

He will have play a closer role working with politicians in Westminster in the team of the new prime minister, who has pledged to “unite” the nation and deliver Brexit.

After advising the Tory leader’s on-off friend Mr Gove, Mr Cummings played mastermind at Vote Leave in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum.

Mr Cummings has been credited as creating the “take back control” slogan and criticised over the figure advertised on the side of the bus travelling the country.

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Benedict Cumberbatch (centre) played Dominic Cummings in Brexit: The Uncivil War (Joss Barratt/Channel 4/PA)

He would later say that pledge was “necessary to win”.

The campaign group was also fined £61,000 for breaking the rules in the build-up to the vote.

Credited as a genius and a maverick by many, he is the subject of ire by many others.

Thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus Dominic Cummings on David Davis

He was once labelled a “career psychopath” by former prime minister David Cameron, according to widely-reported remarks.

But Mr Cummings is no stranger to an insult either.

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David Davis was the target of one memorable insult from Dominic Cummings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He described Mr Davis, then the Brexit secretary, as “thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus” in July 2017.

And, earlier this year, he criticised a “narcissist-delusional subset” of the influential European Research Group (ER) which he said needed to be “excised” like a “metastasising tumour”.

Chairman Damian Collins accused him of having show a “total disregard” for Parliament’s authority for failing to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Mr Cummings is also known for clashing with officials and politicians when an education adviser to Mr Gove in the coalition government.

His appointment may surprise some because Mr Johnson will need the support of Brexit hardliners to deliver his “do or die” pledge to get the UK out of the EU by October 31.

But clearly he believes Mr Cummings’ abrasive style will help him succeed.

PA

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