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PM refuses to sack controversial aide branded ‘a political anarchist’

Boris Johnson spoke out after Sir John Major urged him to get rid of the ‘overmighty’ adviser Dominic Cummings.

Boris Johnson grapples with a bull on his trip to Aberdeenshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Boris Johnson grapples with a bull on his trip to Aberdeenshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Lewis McKenzie, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected calls to sack his controversial adviser Dominic Cummings as he again insisted there will be no delay to Brexit beyond October 31.

Mr Johnson spoke out on Friday after former Tory leader Sir John Major unleashed a scathing attack on the PM’s aide, branding him “a political anarchist”.

In a speech in Glasgow on Thursday night, Sir John urged the new Prime Minister to get rid of the “overmighty” Mr Cummings “and do it quickly”.

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Dominic Cummings has come under fire from former prime minister Sir John Major (Victoria Jones/PA)

Asked if he would now sack his key adviser, Mr Johnson said: “Look, advisers advise and ministers decide.”

The PM was speaking during a visit to Aberdeenshire at the end of a turbulent week in politics.

Mr Johnson withdrew the whip from 21 Tory MPs who rebelled against his Government in the Commons before failing to win enough votes in the House to force an early general election.

But he insisted he was not prepared to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union beyond the end of next month.

A cross-party bid to require the PM to ask for a Brexit extension if there is not a deal in place cleared the Commons on Wednesday and is due to complete its progress through the Lords on Friday.

The big picture is we’ve spent a long time trying to sort of fudge this thing and I think the British public really want us to get out Boris Johnson

Asked if he would not seek the extension, even if passed in law, he said: “I don’t want a delay.”

Mr Johnson told reporters: “The Bill that is still before Parliament would, in theory, mean that the Government of the UK was obliged to write a letter to Brussels asking for a pointless delay to leaving the EU.

“I don’t think that’s what people want and I think we were very clear about that and not only would it oblige the Government to do that, it would give the EU the power to decide how long the UK had to stay in and I really can’t think for the life of me that that is a democratic way forward.

“The big picture is we’ve spent a long time trying to sort of fudge this thing and I think the British public really want us to get out.

“They don’t want more dither and delay.”

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Mr Johnson said defeating Jeremy Corbyn was one of his three main objectives (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Johnson added: “We can get out of the EU on October 31 and that’s what we intend to do.”

He said he was “perplexed” by Labour and the SNP voting against his bid to force an early general election.

“I’ve never known an opposition in the history of democracy that’s refused to have an election but that’s their choice,” he said.

“I think obviously they don’t trust the people, they don’t think that the people will vote for them so they’re refusing to have an election.”

Asked on whether he would resign, Mr Johnson said: “What I said is that we had to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Pressed on the matter he added: “Well, I mean, after those three objectives have been accomplished I will … at some point after those three objectives have been accomplished.”

PA

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