A look back at 8 of Dominic Cummings’ most bizarre and controversial moments

Greg Evans
Wednesday 26 May 2021 16:43
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Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, gave evidence to MPs today about the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The timing of came just over a year after Cummings created widespread controversy by driving the length of the country to his parents’ property in Durham during the first lockdown after his wife developed coronavirus-related symptoms.

Cummings, who had been a figure lurking in the background of government dealings and a key individual in the Vote Leave campaign, has always been a curious character in the world of modern British politics.

During his career, Cummings has managed to cultivate a persona for himself that often sways between the most hated man in Britain and a clown prone to rambling on Twitter.

So with his tell-all testimony containing a fair few fireworks about his ex-colleagues, we’ve taken a quick look back at some of Cummings’ most, err, memorable moments to date.

Quoting cartoon superheroes PJ Masks after being asked about HS2

Back in February 2020, when the biggest controversy the government was facing was in regards to plans regarding the construction of the HS2 rail link, Cummings, who was opposed to the project, randomly quoted the children’s cartoon PJ Masks, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Running away from Downing Street after Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid

When Covid was first starting to cause real concern in the UK – and long before his bigger controversy – Cummings was spotted literally sprinting away from 10 Downing Street after Boris Johnson tested positive for the disease, thus accidentally creating a perfect metaphor for the government’s responsibility during the pandemic.

Claiming he drove 40 miles to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’

May 2020 was arguably the month that put Cummings and his unique approach to the media on the map. After it was widely reported that the prime minister’s adviser had apparently broken lockdown regulations twice (by first driving from London to County Durham and then driving 40 miles to beauty spot Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday), Cummings faced the media in one of the most bizarre press conferences the UK had ever seen. Of all the strange things that were said, easily the most memorable was when he said that he had driven to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ after overcoming coronavirus. This inevitable spawned millions of memes that still occasionally pop up on our timeline to this day.

His father-in-law has a black and white horse named ‘Barack’

As you’ve probably already guessed, Dominic Cummings has friends in pretty high places but perhaps none higher than his father-in-law the English baronet and antique expert Sir Humphry Tyrrell-Wakefield. In 2017, Wakefield took part in an interview with The Field Sports Channel where he revealed that he has a horse named after former US president Barack Obama, named so because it is “half black and half white”. This one isn’t really Cummings’ fault but more because of association but still isn’t a good look for anyone.

Quoting Pulp Fiction to government aides

Way back in September 2019, Cummings wasn’t causing anything like the controversy that was to come but he was instead quoting classic 90s movies to government aides. As pressure began to mount on the government following a series of mishaps, it was reported that Cummings told aides to be ‘cool like Fonzie’ which is actually a line that Samuel L Jackson says in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

You won’t ever see his name trending on social media

A curious sidenote about Cummings is that you’re unlikely to ever see his name trending on social media. This isn’t because no one is talking about him or him being shadowbanned but it's because of porn filters blocking his crude surname. You’ll occasionally see hashtags linked to his name but not just his surname on its own. This actually might inadvertently be the strangest thing Cummings has ever done and it’s not even his fault.

His flippant response to a Labour MP who had received death threats

Back in September 2019, before Brexit was completed, Labour MP Karl Turner furiously confronted Cummings after he claimed to have received death threats following bullish language that Johnson had used in the Commons about leaving the EU. After Turner had told him about the type of messages he had been receiving, Cummings nonchalantly replied by saying “get Brexit done” and that he didn’t know who Turner was.

Leaving Downing Street with a box of belongings

Cummings left his position as the PM’s chief adviser on 13th November 2020 and definitely made sure people knew about it. Although he didn’t make much of a song or dance about it, the image of him exiting through the front door of Downing Street with a box of his belongings (surely an unnecessary prop) prompted a meme frenzy.

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