he prime minister’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, admires original thinking, despises needless bureaucracy and has a reputation for unpredictability, of which there was a great deal on display in his testimony to the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. It gave the MPs and the viewing public alike a rare insight into life in Downing Street in the Cummings era.
The biggest surprise was that Cummings turned up at all. He remains in contempt of parliament for refusing to attend a previous select committee hearing two years ago. That was about the Vote Leave referendum campaign that Cummings had run. Cummings was arrogant enough to demand that MPs swear an oath, if that was what he was required to do.
A good deal has changed since then, and Cummings was charm itself as he dilated on some of his favourite topics and explained the thinking behind the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (Aria). This will be Cummings’s “other legacy”, aside from his lockdown busting last summer and his summary dismissal before Christmas.