WHEN Dominic Cummings arrived at 10 Downing Street yesterday morning, the first thought was that he had been summoned to be sacked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And then the second thought came – he was going in to sack Johnson.

Then the Prime Minister stood in front of the television cameras and said Cummings had acted “reasonably, legally and with integrity”. It was like attending one of those funerals where the eulogy bears no relation to the reality of the character of the stiff in the box.

For while there is no evidence of past law-breaking, reason and integrity are not words automatically associated with Cummings, which is a pity because as the weekend’s proceedings have shown, the most powerful man in England is Dominic Cummings.

After all, if he can bend the UK Government to his will to protect his neck then he is surely far more mighty than the Prime Minister, and infinitely more powerful than the pusillanimous pipsqueaks in the Cabinet who, lest it be forgotten, lined up to tweet their approval of Cummings’ recklessness. Some pundits opined that Cummings should go for his answer to a reporter asking if he thought his actions looked good. “Who cares about good looks?” said Cummings. “It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”

That reply encapsulated the whole truth about Cummings. He is absolutely a media-obsessed person, but he genuinely thinks he is right all the time and therefore doesn’t give a monkey’s for press opinion.

Indeed, like his guru, the rightist neo-liberal Steve Bannon, he thrives on throwing a wrecking ball through the establishment, usually via the media. And this scandal has proven one thing – all those Downing Street inside sources quoted by the likes of Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston seem to be shaping up to be very close to the Prime Minister and his inner circle.

Here’s an interesting fact from this latest scandal. Both Cummings and Wakefield wrote accounts of their time in lockdown for The Spectator. Neither mentioned Durham and they gave the appearance of being at home in London. Indeed, in her piece, Wakefield wrote about emerging from quarantine “into the comical uncertainty of London lockdown”. Go figure.

Since he arrived on the political scene in 1999, 48-year-old Cummings has been on a rollercoaster ride, with him usually driving the rollercoaster.

Part-state and part-privately educated, he graduated from Oxford University with a First in ancient and modern history. He spent three years in Russia from 1994 to 1997, before returning to Britain where he became the campaign director of Business for Sterling, which was set up to stop the UK entering the Eurozone. Interestingly, given his subsequent involvements, Cummings and his colleagues campaigned on the slogan “Europe Yes, Euro No”.

That job got him access to the Conservative Party which, as he frequently points out, he has never joined. The then Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith took him on as a consultant with the remit of modernising the Conservative party, a job on a par with any of the labours of Hercules.

Indeed, it would have been easier to slay Cerberus or clean the Augean Stables than change the Tories, and Cummings went his separate way after Duncan Smith rejected most of his plans.

In 2004, he emerged as the main force behind the North East Says No campaign, which successfully fought the plan for a regional assembly. He was seen to be a formidable organiser with an ability to cut through jargon and red tape and come up with messages that the public could understand – he always kept it simple.

Scotland’s own Michael Gove employed Cummings as a consultant when he was shadow education secretary and then made him a special adviser in the Department of Education, where he had the first of many clashes with the civil service and rank-and-file MPs and junior ministers, for whom he showed little respect.

His greatest impact on politics and indeed the UK as a whole came when he was taken into the inner sanctum of the Vote Leave campaign. He is credited with the “take back control” slogan and the £350 million pledge on the side of a double-decker bus, while his work behind the scenes impressed Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: PM says Dominic Cummings 'acted responsibly' in breaking lockdown

It is often forgotten that Cummings left Vote Leave months before the 2016 referendum. Over the next two years he worked for Babylon Health, advising it on strategy as it expanded its subscription private healthcare services. In March 2019 he was admonished for contempt of Parliament after he failed to appear before the inquiry into allegations of false claims during the referendum campaign.

As soon as he came into office, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made him chief special adviser. Then Cummings could really crack the whip, and in August last year he fired

Sonja Khan, one of the Treasury special advisers, without telling her boss, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid. Johnson sided with Cummings and the Chancellor had no option but to resign. Cummings then worked ceaselessly on Brexit.

Only a public inquiry will eventually reveal whether Cummings really did believe in herd immunity or not, but if he survives the current scandal he will no doubt ensure that inquiry never happens.