Blackford wants chief adviser to appear before committee

Ian Blackford has called on Dominic Cummings to give evidence before a committee.

The SNP Westminster leader has called for the Prime Minister’s chief adviser to give evidence before a parliamentary committee.

Ian Blackford has expressed concerns over the what he calls a “revolving door” of ministers in the UK Government, following last week’s reshuffle – accusing the Prime Minister of acting in a presidential way.

Blackford also described Dominic Cummings, the former head of the Leave campaign during the EU referendum, as the “power behind the throne”, raising worries about the power of unelected advisers in Downing Street.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid stood down last week during a reshuffle when he was told he would need to fire his advisers and “merge” with Number 10.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak was appointed to the role.

Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, has now written to the Liaison Committee at Westminster, to urge them to take evidence from Cummings.

The committee regularly takes evidence from prime ministers.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Monday, Blackford said: “I’ve written to the clerk of the Liaison Committee to ask that he use his powers to make sure that Dominic Cummings appears before that committee.

“It’s been clear for a long period of time that this is the power behind the throne.”

He went on to raise questions about the replacement of former Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith and the former attorney general Geoffrey Cox in the Thursday reshuffle, claiming the Prime Minister is surrounding himself with “yes men and women”.

He added: “It’s right that the Prime Minister is questioned by the committee, but also the person that’s responsible – the power behind the throne – Dominic Cummings, who is having such an impact on government which has seen not just the removal of ministers but special advisers losing their job as he continues to play games in Number 10.”

When questioned about the right of the Prime Minister to determine ministers in his Cabinet, Blackford likened the actions of Boris Johnson to US President Donald Trump.

He added: “That’s why it’s important that Parliament does its job and the Liaison Committee, which is the chair of all the select committees, doesn’t just call the Prime Minister but uses its power to call Dominic Cummings, who we know is having a significant impact on the way this Prime Minister is behaving, so we can hold this Government – and Dominic Cummings – to account.”

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