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Boris Johnson adviser Dominic Cummings says Westminster doesn’t need any more ‘drivel’ about gender identity

Vic Parsons January 3, 2020
Dominic Cummings

Boris Johnson (R) and Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leave 10 Downing Street on October 28, 2019. (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top adviser, has written a rambling blog post about jobs at Number 10 – but says Westminster doesn’t need any more “drivel” about gender identity.

Vowing to eliminate “blah blah” gender-identity diversity targets from Number 10, Cummings said that people who “babble” about gender identity need not apply.

In the post, which said “we’re hiring” and called for “weirdos and misfits” to apply, Cummings made it clear that when he talked about wanting to recruit diverse candidates, he did not mean in terms of gender identity.

“People in SW1 talk a lot about ‘diversity’ but they rarely mean ‘true cognitive diversity’,” Cummings wrote.

“They are usually babbling about ‘gender identity diversity blah blah’.

“What SW1 needs is not more drivel about ‘identity’ and ‘diversity’ from Oxbridge humanities graduates but more genuine cognitive diversity.”

Cummings’ blog post – which runs to almost 3,000 words – is an unusual way for a political party to recruit.

The key architect of Johnson’s election victory, Cummings was his top adviser during a campaign that saw Number 10 accused of “weaponising” the rights of transgender people for political gain.

Previous Tory prime minister Theresa May most recently brought trans issues into the political spotlight by announcing a public consultation on potentially reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in 2017. Reforms to the GRA have been repeatedly promised and delayed by the Tories.

While trans rights don’t often appear to be on the radar of senior political advisers, Cummings is not the only person close to Johnson with an eye on trans issues.

Anti-trans rights journalist Andrew Gilligan, who Johnson appointed his transport adviser last summer, is a former Sunday Times senior correspondent.

Gilligan regularly wrote pieces for The Sunday Times that were critical of trans people and organisations – including calling Mermaids, a charity that supports young transgender and gender-questioning people and their families, a “child sex-change charity” and “controversial transgender lobby group”.

Gilligan repeatedly wrote for The Times about the “dangers” of allowing trans women to be detained in women’s prisons.

In 2018, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled that an article written by Gilligan for The Sunday Times titled “Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women” was misleading. 

The piece incorrectly asserted that the review “could give trans women the ability to use ladies’ public toilets for the first time” and described the plan as a “radical move”, IPSO said.

Cummings’ blog post is just the latest from a man described as a “mad professor” and an “evil genius”.

Dominic Cummings ran the Vote Leave campaign and is credited with creating the “take back control” and “£350m for the NHS” slogans.

 

More: Andrew Gilligan, Boris Johnson, dominic cummings, gender identity, westminster politics

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