Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street 010720 CREDIT PA
Politics

Armed Forces Chief Warned Dominic Cummings Will 'Sort You Out'

Former defence minister Mark Francois MP made the warning as he criticised the Ministry of Defence's track-record over procurement.

Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street 010720 CREDIT PA

The head of the Armed Forces has been warned that Dominic Cummings will "sort you out his own way" if the Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not change its procurement process.

Tory MP Mark Francois made the comments during a Defence Select Committee hearing on Tuesday, as he criticised the department's handling of procurement, saying "nothing ever seems to change".

Speaking to the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, Mr Francois said: "Please nip back to the department and ask them to sort their bloody selves out, because if not, [Dominic] Cummings is going to come down there and sort you out his own way – and you won't like it."

Since then, reports have surfaced suggesting Mr Cummings will tour some of Britain's most highly classified national security sites ahead of an upcoming major defence review.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the Prime Minister’s chief aide has already visited MI5 and MI6, and has requested to visit other classified sites including the defence laboratory at Porton Down in Salisbury and the SAS headquarters in Hereford.

A Number 10 spokesperson told Forces News that as part of Mr Cummings' role, he "regular visits Government sites". 

Mr Cummings has previously been critical of the MOD's procurement, in particular large-scale programmes such as the construction of the Royal Navy's two aircraft carriers.

In a blog post written last year, he described the £6.2 billion project as a "farce".

Mr Francois, a former defence minister and prominent Brexiteer, said the MOD has an "inability" to manage its contractors.

He added "only five" programmes have been delivered on time with "many of them over budget".

WATCH: Mark Francois MP warns the Chief of the Defence Staff that Dominic Cummings will "sort you out his own way" over procurement. 

Gen Carter said there are "a number of things" currently underway to improve procurement, including the "vital" Defence, Security and Industrial Strategy Review.

He added: "We have got to do something about developing the career structure and specialising people who become much more confident being able to hold industry to account for what they need to deliver."

Mr Francois also said: "We'd all like to see more resources devoted to defence, particularly with a rise in China.

"But it's very difficult to make that argument with conviction when the first thing the Treasury say is, 'there's no point giving them any more money, they can't even spend what we give them properly - it's like a kid in a sweet shop, all they ever do is argue for more money and when we give it to them, they pee half of it up the wall."

The MOD's accounts have been under scrutiny for years, with its defence equipment plan repeatedly found to be unaffordable.

Cover image: Dominic Cummings (Picture: PA).