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Cummings should be questioned if he has defence policy influence

Tobias Ellwood has said that the Prime Minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings must be subjected to questioning by Parliament if he is to play a formal role in UK defence policy.

Ellwood, who is the chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, said that MPs must be granted the same powers to question Cummings as they do ministers and civil servants.

His comments follow growing concerns over Cummings’ role in a review of the UK’s future defence and security needs, after it emerged he is planning a tour of the armed forces’ most classified bases.

Ellwood, who served as a defence minister under Theresa May from 2017-19, said that the explanation that it was normal for advisers to regularly visit government sites is not good enough and that he should appear in front of committees like the one he chairs in order to explain his involvement to MPs.

Documents seen by an Australian newspaper showed that Cummings is planning to visit sites including the Special Boat Service in Dorset, the SAS headquarters in Hereford and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down which researches chemical weapons and pathogens.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Cummings also wants to visit the Rapid Capabilities Office at Farnborough and the defence intelligence unit at Wyton – having already toured MI5 and MI6 twice.

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