Dominic Cummings has revealed the four demands he made of Boris Johnson before becoming the prime minister’s chief adviser in Downing Street.
In his first public comments since leaving Number 10 last year, Mr Cummings told a group of MPs he persuaded Mr Johnson to sort out the “disaster zone” of Whitehall.
Appearing before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Mr Cummings was quizzed about the government’s plans for a new “high-risk, high-reward” scientific agency he had spearheaded while in Downing Street.
The £800m Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA) is modelled on America’s long-running Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
Answering questions on how he got Mr Johnson to agree to ARIA’s creation, Mr Cummings told the committee: “Essentially what happened was the prime minister came to speak to me the Sunday before he became prime minister and said ‘would I come into Downing Street to try and help sort out the huge Brexit nightmare’.
“I said ‘yes, if – first of all – you’re deadly serious about actually getting Brexit done and avoiding a second referendum’.
“‘Second, double the science budget, third, create some ARPA-like entity and, fourth, support me in trying to change how Whitehall works and the Cabinet Office work because it’s a disaster zone’.
“And he said ‘deal’.”
Mr Cummings added the July 2019 meeting between himself and Mr Johnson was attended by only the two of them, and took place in his living room.