Bad boys of Brexit: where are they now?

This is what became of prime movers Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore

• UK ministers pledged to match EU spending after Brexit. How’s that going?

These five “bad boys” were the loudest voices behind Brexit, but they’ve all gone pretty quiet since then – what has become of them since?

Boris Johnson – forced to quit

A key figurehead in the Vote Leave campaign, Johnson led the Conservatives to their biggest electoral victory since 1987 after promising to “get Brexit done”.

Since then, it’s been all downhill. Scandal after scandal led him to quit as prime minister in July 2022, his reputation sullied by a series of ethical missteps. Seen recently at a wedding in Venice. Harbours hopes of a Churchillian comeback. Until then, he seems to be making a lot of money about his calamitous premiership – £1m from speeches since the summer.

Dominic Cummings – sacked

The abrasive architect of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign was rewarded with a special adviser role in Johnson’s office in July 2019, when he became prime minister.

November 2020: booted out of Downing Street after a bitter power struggle months after breaching lockdown rules. Now? Tweets, under sub-head “regime change”, and has a subscriber blog on Substack. Recently bought a house on the holy island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland.

Nigel Farage – TV presenter

News presenter on GB News and honorary president of the Reform UK party. Reportedly considering whether to make a comeback with the party after reports in November that Rishi Sunak was considering a Swiss-style deal with the EU left him frothing, branding it “a sellout” and a “Chequers deal surrender”.

Andy Wigmore – farmer

One of the original bad boys of Brexit along with Farage and Arron Banks, Wigmore has retired from politics and reinvented himself as an arable farmer, growing hemp in Buckinghamshire.

But he could be back like a shot if Farage decided to return to politics.

Arron Banks – libel loser

The Brexit campaign group Leave.EU has gone into liquidation, with Banks, its controversial co-founder, appearing to write off a loan worth more than £7m. In June 2022, he lost a libel battle against the Observer and Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr.

• This article was amended on 4 January 2023. An earlier version said that Dominic Cummings was appointed into his special advisor role months before Boris Johnson became prime minister. In fact, Cummings was appointed on the day Johnson became prime minister.


Lisa O'Carroll Brexit correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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