In a frank admission, Dominic Cummings, the former mastermind of leaving the vote, said it was “completely reasonable” to say that Brexit was a mistake, but that anyone who was confident either way “was bankrupt”.
The former Downing Street aide said he believed Brexit was a “good thing” based on the events of the past five years.
“I think it is perfectly reasonable to say that Brexit was a mistake … of course it is reasonable for some people to think that,” he said.
“I think obviously I think Brexit was a good thing. And I think the way the world has worked since 2016 proves the arguments Vote Lea made in all sorts of ways. I think it’s a good thing that Brexit happened. .”
The Brexit campaign promised to give the NHS £350m a week if the UK left the EU “drive everyone crazy” because it was true, Cummings said.
He admitted that the figure, which was written on campaign buses used by Brexit supporters such as Boris Johnson, had been used as a “trap” for the Remain side because it exposed the “real balance sheet” of EU membership.
Critics argued that the figure was misleading because it did not take into account the discount the United Kingdom received from Brussels.
But in an interview with the BBC, Cummings said: “The reason why this number worked and the reason everyone went crazy and the reason people are still talking about it now is because we were using real numbers.”
Cummings revealed during the hour-long program that he helped broker a deal between Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to head a new government after the Brexit outcome.
Asked if he thought Johnson would become the next prime minister after the surprise 2016 poll, Cummings, who worked with Gove when he was education minister, said: “Yeah, sort of.”
“I thought so, so I’ve negotiated a deal between him and Michael Gove over the past two weeks about what to do in this situation,” he said.
“The deal was actually that Michael didn’t want to run in the leadership contest, that he would be chancellor, that Boris would be prime minister, but we would create a certain kind of number 10, and that we would deliver everything very quickly on the campaign promises made during the referendum.”
While the show aired, Mr. Cummings also took questions on Substack, paying subscribers to read his views since he left government in the fall after a power struggle at No 10.
Pressed for his reaction when “Mr. Goff blew up the deal I brokered,” he replied, “Cross. I promised my wife not to get involved in the drive-in, so I got a pretty big surprise (when) it all fell apart in about five days.”
Explaining why he agreed to the wide-ranging discussion, Cummings said he agreed to meet with BBC political editor Laura Koensberg “in early 2016” and that he “must keep his word”.