Farm belonging to Boris Johnson’s arch-Brexiteer adviser received £200,000 in EU subsidies
‘It shows sheer hypocrisy from Cummings that his farm has raked in hundreds of thousands from the “absurd subsidies” he so often criticises’
Dominic Cummings, who helped devise the Vote Leave referendum campaign in 2016, is now the most senior adviser in Downing Street and has been a fierce critic of Brussels.
But Mr Cummings today faces potentially embarrassing reports, highlighting money his family received under EU subsidies designed to aid farmers and landowners to maintain their land.
Farmsubsidy.org’s database shows the Durham farm Mr Cummings co-owns with members of his family received around €20,000 a year for the past two decades – amounting to nearly €208,000.
The Observer reported that the former Vote Leave official’s farm received in total €250,000 in subsidies that he has previously described as “absurd” in a blog post before the Brexit referendum.
Addressing the principle of subsidies in 2015, Mr Cummings wrote: “From public procurement to international trade, our membership [of the EU] undermines good government and sensible policy and wastes billions annually.
“It is so bureaucratic and slow-moving that it cannot adapt quickly to challenges and is the opposite of the sort of agile institution necessary to cope with contemporary and imminent global challenges – for example, it is so slow-moving that it remains stuck with agricultural subsidies dreamed up in the 1950s and 1960s that raise prices for the poor to subsidise rich farmers while damaging agriculture in Africa.”
Downing Street declined to comment on the reports of subsidies received by My Cummings, but the Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran added: “It shows sheer hypocrisy from Cummings that his farm has raked in hundreds of thousands from the ‘absurd subsidies’ he so often criticises.”
And in reference to the NHS messaging of the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said: “I feel sure Dominic Cummings would be the first to agree this money could have been better spent on the NHS.”
It comes after Michael Heseltine, the former Conservative deputy prime minister, accused Mr Cummings of “parading himself as the mastermind” behind Boris Johnson’s new government strategy.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Lord Heseltine, alongside former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd, described the senior adviser as a “self-styled revolutionary menace”.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Lord Heseltine added: “We’ve got this guy, who is now in direct contact with the British media, briefing them on policies, scathingly attacking members of the House of Commons, and parading himself as the mastermind behind the government. That is an intolerable position for democracy.
“It is absolutely central that parliament should be able to call to account people who represent them as ministers, and at the the moment we’re now being told by a particular figure, who’s proud of it, that he’s more or less running the show.”