'Weirdos' wanted for Downing Street jobs, says Boris Johnson's Durham-born adviser Dominic Cummings

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Durham-born key adviser has called for "weirdos" to apply for jobs in Downing Street as he warned of "profound problems" in Government decision-making.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 3:22 pm
Boris Johnson's key adviser, Durham-born Dominic Cummings, has called for "weirdos" to apply for jobs in Downing Street as he warned of "profound problems" in Government decision-making.
Boris Johnson's key adviser, Durham-born Dominic Cummings, has called for "weirdos" to apply for jobs in Downing Street as he warned of "profound problems" in Government decision-making.

Dominic Cummings, labelled a “Rasputin figure” or “bogeyman” by opponents, posted an apparent job advert on Thursday saying Number 10 wants to hire an "unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds" to work as special advisers and potentially officials.

But a civil servants' union insisted staff are currently recruited on merit and "because of what you can do, not what you believe".

The blog post exceeding 2,900 words came amid reports that the Prime Minister is planning "seismic changes" to the civil service.

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Mr Cummings, whose family live on the edge of Durham City, said he hopes to be made "largely redundant" within a year by the recruitment drive.

He called for officials including "weirdos and misfits with odd skills", data scientists and policy experts to apply to a gmail account if they think they fit the bill.

The former Vote Leave director warned that there are "some profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions" and that he currently makes decisions "well outside" his "circle of competence".

And he says the need for change comes with Brexit requiring large policy and decision-making structure changes and a Government with an 80-strong majority having "little need to worry about short-term unpopularity".

Under a subsection on hiring "super-talented weirdos", he writes that the Government needs "some true wild cards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole".

But Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA union, which represents civil servants and public sector professionals, said: "It would be ironic if, in an attempt to bring in radical new thinking, Cummings was to surround himself with like-minded individuals - recruited for what they believe, not what they can do - and less able to provide the robust advice a minister may need, rather than simply the advice they want."