ANNA MIKHAILOVA: So did Dominic Cummings wave through his own £45,000 pay hike?

‘The thing that officials will try hardest to do is convey to you that you have no role in personnel decisions and/or management. 

‘If you accept that, you are accepting at the start that you will achieve very little.’

So said Dominic Cummings, famous for ranting about Civil Service HR processes that tend to promote ‘middle-aged, male, conservative, mediocre apparatchiks’.

We now know that when he marched out of Downing Street, box in hand, last month, Cummings had already discreetly received a £45,000 (40 per cent) pay rise.

We now know that when he marched out of Downing Street, box in hand, last month, Cummings (pictured) had already discreetly received a £45,000 (40 per cent) pay rise

No 10’s new press secretary, Allegra Stratton, defended the hike as within the range for someone of his position and agreed by the Cabinet Office salary advisory committee.

And who was on that committee? One Dominic Cummings. Last night, Stratton said she understood the self-styled chief weirdo and misfit recused himself from talks about his pay rise. 

The Cabinet Office said everything was done properly, but neither they nor Cummings would confirm that he was absent from meetings. 

Speaking of costly hubris, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Cummings’ grand idea of moving from Downing Street to the Cabinet Office next door has, since June, cost taxpayers £74,000 – plus VAT. Shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic sure isn’t cheap.

Rishi’s in the frame

Deciding which portraits of his predecessors to hang in his office, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he chose Labour’s Hugh Gaitskell because they were ‘at the same school’. 

Winchester College has bred six Chancellors, including political bedfellow Sir Geoffrey Howe, whose jowly mug is nowhere to be seen.

Deciding which portraits of his predecessors to hang in his office, Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured)  said he chose Labour’s Hugh Gaitskell because they were ‘at the same school’

Could it be that Sunak prefers Gaitskell because he went on to be Labour leader? 

His other chosen portrait was of William Gladstone who Sunak says ‘watched all the pennies quite rigorously’. He also made the leap from No 11 into No 10.

His other chosen portrait was of William Gladstone (pictured) who Sunak says ‘watched all the pennies quite rigorously’

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) – the official body that never says No to ministers who leave to spend more time with their bank balances – has excelled itself over the case of Mark Lancaster, Tory ex-Defence Minister and new peer.

He should have asked permission from the Advisors for Cashing-In and Brazen Avarice, but only did so after taking up a paid directorship with RB Sport and Leisure Holdings, which owns Hampshire Cricket Club and is behind the golf and hotel expansion of its Ageas Bowl stadium.

It was ‘a clear breach of the rules’ that undermined public confidence, Acoba thundered in a letter to the apologetic peer – before ruling that the risk of a conflict of interest was ‘low’ as his job was not defence related.

Except that his wife, Caroline Dinenage, Tory MP for Gosport, is a Minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 

Its website said her brief included post-Covid recovery of the sports industry. 

When challenged by The MoS, DCMS said this brief was added in error and deleted it, and insisted there is no conflict of interest.

Just as well since Dinenage has attended events at Ageas Bowl, and in 2018 tweeted: ‘I’m no expert but this looks like a pretty flippin’ perfect setting for a cricket match to me.’

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