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A recent report by Express sheds light on clandestine meetings between UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak and former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, held in December 2022 and July 2023. Some of Sunak’s closest allies were reportedly kept in the dark about these discussions.

The reported purpose of these secret meetings was Sunak seeking Cummings’ assistance in devising a strategy for the Conservative Party’s re-election campaign. In return, Cummings alleges that Sunak proposed a confidential agreement for him to join Sunak’s team post-election officially.

Cummings, however, rejected Sunak’s proposition, emphasizing his commitment to prioritizing crucial issues over the political office, stating, “I’d rather the Tories lose than continue in office without prioritizing what’s important.”

Known for his pivotal role in the successful Vote Leave campaign and orchestrating Boris Johnson’s 2019 electoral triumph, Cummings purportedly offered Sunak radical advice to address the Conservatives’ current polling challenges. Suggestions included abandoning Sunak’s cautious economic approach, implementing an emergency budget, resolving NHS strikes, and raising the 40p income tax threshold to £100,000. Additionally, Cummings proposed withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights, enabling the UK to adopt a more assertive stance on matters like illegal immigration.

Cummings claims that while Sunak initially considered bringing him back into the fold, concerns about potential backlash from Tory MPs and the media led Sunak to retract the offer. Downing Street confirmed the occurrence of the meetings but refuted claims of any formal job offer, describing the discussions as a “broad discussion about politics and campaigning.”

These revelations spotlight Sunak’s decision-making and strategic choices amid the Conservative Party’s electoral challenges. Considering Cummings’ reputation as a disruptive and controversial figure, his return to government would likely be polarizing. As Labour maintains a lead in the polls, Sunak, perceived as risk-averse, faces pressure to take bold measures to reverse the party’s fortunes.

The disclosure of these covert interactions intensifies existing suspicions about the relationship between Sunak and Cummings. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has had a tumultuous history with Cummings, has previously characterized Sunak as a “stooge” installed by Cummings. The report suggests a strained relationship between Sunak and Cummings, with the latter expressing skepticism about the current government’s ability to enact transformative reforms.

As the political landscape evolves, Sunak’s reluctance to align with Cummings raises questions about alternative strategies for electoral success. With polls indicating a favorable position for Labour, Sunak faces a pivotal year in 2023, and the revealed behind-the-scenes maneuvers hint at a sense of urgency within the Conservative ranks. Whether Sunak’s decision to forego Cummings’ assistance will prove prudent or regrettable remains uncertain as the political drama continues to unfold.

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