PM adviser Dominic Cummings ‘has left Number 10’ after power struggle

Published: 14 November 2020, 2:23 PM

Post Desk : Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings has quit Downing Street ‘with immediate effect’ , according to reports.

Dominic Cummings, special adviser for Mr Johnson was photographed with a box of belongings leaving Number 10.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the decision was made after a lunchtime discussion with the Prime Minister and outgoing director of communications Lee Cain where the pair decided it was “best to go immediately”.

She added: “Dominic Cummings has now decided to leave Number 10 today for good – (subtle hint walking out with a box) – Lee Cain also now out from today.

“This was all a slow burning fuse but exploded fast when it finally happened! End of a very torrid era.”

Sky New’s Sophy Ridge tweeted: “I’m told the PM asked Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain to leave earlier today.”

Downing Street had just yesterday said Mr Cummings would be leaving by Christmas after a row over the appointment of a new chief of staff to Mr Johnson.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has today asked Sir Edward Lister to take on the role of chief of staff for an interim period pending a permanent appointment to the post.”

A Downing Street source told Sky News political editor Beth Rigby: “The PM wanted to clear the air and move things forward and Lord Lister’s appointment is important in that regard. The PM thanked them for their hard work.”

She added that both Mr Cummings and Mr Cain were still employed until December 18 but weren’t expected to return to Downing Street. Mr Cummings is expected to be working from home on mass testing work he wants to complete.

According to The Daily Telegraph, former chancellor Sajid Javid, who resigned when Mr Cummings tried to sack his aides, will be brought back in from the cold and is seen as a front runner for chief-of-staff.

The news comes as the Government settled an unfair dismissal claim with a former Treasury aide frogmarched out of Downing Street by armed police after being sacked by Mr Cummings.

Sonia Khan, who was a special adviser to then-chancellor Sajid Javid, was dismissed last August over the alleged leaking of Brexit secrets.

Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street alone, was last seen on Whitehall waiting for a vehicle.

On Thursday night, Mr Cummings insisted to the BBC that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented” after it was suggested he would exit in protest over the treatment of Mr Cain, who quit as communications chief.

But Mr Cummings said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog” in which he said he hoped to be “largely redundant” by 2021.

Senior Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said it is time to restore “respect, integrity and trust”, which he said have been “lacking in recent months” between No 10 and Tory MPs.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not surprised in a way that it is ending in the way it is. No prime minister can afford a single adviser to become a running story, dominating his Government’s communications and crowding out the proper messages the Government wants to convey.

“Nobody is indispensable.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth had highlighted the strain being heaped on the NHS and the public by Covid-19 while “Downing Street is paralysed by the soap opera of these self-indulgent spin doctors,” adding: “It’s pathetic.”

His colleague on the Labour front-bench, David Lammy, said the departures are “like rats fleeing a sinking ship”.

“His legacy is one of bullying, deception, hypocrisy and hubris. The super-forecaster who ignored the pandemic. His damage is irreparable,” he added.

Referencing reports Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has left his post earlier than expected, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey tweeted: “Not before time”

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron added: “Cummings may have gone, but let’s never forget that the worst part of the whole Barnard Castle affair was the way Conservative ministers shamelessly lined up to defend him saying ‘it’s what any loving father would have done’ while millions made huge sacrifices by staying at home.”