It’s an easy cop-out blaming the already vilified Brexit bogeyman who never minds playing the bad guy.
Downing Street has mounted a fightback against “sleaze” accusations by planting stories in Tory-supporting newspapers accusing the bogyman of Brexit Dominic Cummings of leaking Number 10 texts.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun quote unnamed Downing Street sources claiming Dominic Cummings leaked texts about tycoon Sir James Dyson and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.
Both The Times and Daily Telegraph lead with the accusations: “Cummings accused of leaking No 10 texts. Downing Street sources claim former chief adviser released PM’s messages out of spite.”
And the Sun’s page-one headline, alongside photos of Dominic Cummings and the prime minister, is: “PM accuses ex-adviser of leaks. Boris: Dom’s a text maniac.”
Sky News Jon Craig seems to have the measure of this orchestrated diversion, asking the right questions after the reports were published, The Guardian seems to have gone along with the Downing street line: “In what appeared to be a coordinated attack on Cummings, along with the Telegraph, Times and Sun they reported the same criticisms from an unnamed insider accusing him of being ‘bitter’ about leaving government.”
Opposition MPs will claim Number 10 is attempting to divert attention from allegations of “sleaze” and “cronyism” against Boris Johnson and senior members of his government – and former prime minister David Cameron over his lobbying for Greensill Capital.
The reports in the three newspapers appeared shortly after the Bank of England and the Treasury published detailed records of attempts by David Cameron to lobby the Bank of England and the Treasury on behalf of Australian banker Lex Greensill.
The strongest attack on Cummings came in The Times, with claimed “No 10 source” quoted as saying: “Dominic is engaged in systematic leaking. We are disappointed about that. We are concerned about messages from private WhatsApp groups which had very limited circulation.
“The prime minister is saddened about what Dom is doing. It’s undermining the government and the party. It might be that Dominic feels bitter about what’s happened since he left – but it’s a great shame. Dyson was trying to do something for the good of the country.”
The Daily Telegraph claimed: “Mr Cummings has been fingered as the likely culprit in the leaking of messages between Mr Johnson and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and separate texts between the Prime Minister and the businessman Sir James Dyson.
“The former adviser is understood to have had legitimate access to the text messages during his time working in government.”
The paper quoted an unnamed source as saying: “If you join the dots it looks like it’s coming from Dom. More than anything, the PM is disappointed and saddened by what Dom has been up to.
What legitimate access a government advisor would have to the prime minister’s private mobile phone is a question in itself. However, for the gullible and those wanting a quick end to this sleaze and corruption, it’s all too convenient to blame it on the bogyman of Brexit who for many fits the bill, guilty or not.