Row as Dominic Cummings tells Leave voters election is ‘much tighter’ than people think – before Tories insist he has ‘RESIGNED’ as Boris Johnson’s advisor when Labour slam him for interfering in poll
- Boris Johnson’s former top aide said election is ‘much tighter’ than polls show
- Mr Cummings urged Leave backers to persuade friends and family to vote Tory
- He claimed Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon would ‘rig’ second referendum
A row has erupted after Boris Johnson’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings sent out a Brexit ‘bat signal’ to Leave voters to warn them the general election is ‘much tighter’ than opinion polls suggest.
Mr Cummings, the maverick architect of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, said in a new blog post there is a ‘very real possibility of a hung parliament’ as he urged people to persuade friends and family to back Mr Johnson at the ballot box.
His blog post has sparked a disagreement after claims his intervention could constitute a breach of election purdah rules that are in place for special advisers.
But a source at the Cabinet Office told The Guardian that Mr Cummings had already resigned as Mr Johnson’s special adviser after parliament was dissolved.
It is not clear what role, if any, Cummings will play if Mr Johnson secures a majority.
In the missive Mr Cummings said if Mr Johnson fails to win a majority on December 12 then Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon would likely take power.
He suggested their respective pledges to hold a second referendum on the UK’s departure from the EU should motivate Brexiteers to rally around Mr Johnson.
He then claimed Mr Corbyn and Ms Sturgeon would effectively try to ‘rig’ that second referendum by allowing EU citizens living in the UK to vote.
The intervention by Mr Cummings came after a major new piece of polling analysis suggested the Tories could win 366 seats at the election – a majority of 82 – with Labour on just 199.
Dominic Cummings, pictured leaving Downing Street with Boris Johnson in October, has urged Brexit-backing voters to persuade family and friends to back the PM on December 12
Mr Cummings, pictured leaving his London Home in November, also claimed the election is ‘much tighter’ that it seems
The work conducted on behalf of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign group suggested Mr Johnson is in the driving seat with election day now less than three weeks away.
Meanwhile, another major piece of polling is due to be published overnight by YouGov which is also expected to predict a Conservative majority.
Mr Johnson has enjoyed double digit leads over Labour in numerous opinion polls in recent weeks.
But Mr Cummings wrote: ‘You will see many polls in the coming days. Some will say Boris will win.
‘Trust me, as someone who has worked on lots of campaigns, things are MUCH tighter than they seem and there is a very real possibility of a hung parliament.
‘Without a majority, the nightmare continues. ALL other MPs will gang together to stop Brexit and give EU citizens the vote. It’s that simple.’
Mr Cummings, who left his Downing Street adviser role at the start of the general election campaign, said he had previously told his supporters that ‘if Brexit is in danger’ he would ‘send up a ‘bat signal” – a reference to the method for summoning Batman in the DC comics.
He said: ‘If Boris doesn’t get a majority, then Corbyn and Sturgeon will control the government, their official policy is to give the vote to millions of foreign citizens to cheat their second referendum, we’ll all get screwed on taxes, Parliament will drag the whole country into crisis, and immigration will return to being a central issue in politics instead of being marginalised by Brexit.’
He claimed Labour and the SNP would ‘rig the question’ at the second referendum ‘so the ‘choice’ is effectively ‘Remain or Remain”.
Both Labour and the SNP have committed in their election manifestos to give the vote to EU citizens living in the UK.
Mr Cummings said that ‘rights of EU citizens living here should be respected’ but ‘giving millions of foreign citizens a vote on membership of the EU is a bad joke’.
He said the ‘most useful thing’ Brexit-backing voters could do would be to ‘make the time to speak to friends and family and explain why you will vote for Boris’.