Politics

Furious PM gives Dominic Cummings marching orders after 'shouty' showdown


Boris Johnson gave Dominic Cummings marching orders after a “shouty” showdown and a “toxic” briefing, it has been reported.

The Prime Minister’s chief adviser left Downing Street yesterday night following days of in-fighting at Number 10.

The controversial aide was seen leaving Number 10 carrying boxes on Friday evening amid reports he had quit his post with immediate effect.

He and Lee Cain, who resigned as communications chief, will reportedly still be employed until the middle of next month.

However, reports suggested Mr Cummings would be working from home on projects such as mass testing.



Sources said Boris Johnson wanted to ‘clear the air and move on’

Mr Cain is understood to have quit on Wednesday after the PM refused to make him Chief of Staff – an appointment opposed by the Prime Minister’s partner, Ms Symonds.

The Sun reported there was a “shouty” confrontation between the Prime Minister and Mr Cummings over the ousting of Mr Cain and that a “livid” Mr Johnson wanted both out “sooner rather than later”.

A No10 source told the newspaper: “The atmosphere is one of reset and change and that can’t happen with those two still in the building.”

Another source added: “Their behaviour in the last 72 hours was toxic and Boris said enough is enough.”

According to The Sun, insiders pointed to vicious negative briefings to the press about Ms Symonds.



Dominic Cummings was reportedly asked to leave after a ‘shouty’ showdown

They also mentioned anonymous claims that chief Brexit negotiator David Frost could follow the pair out of the door as “crossing the line.”

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However, friends of Lord Frost said he was “baffled” by the rumour which risked to undermine his position while negotiating a Brexit deal with the European Union.

The Financial Times reported Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings had been ordered into Boris Johnson’s office yesterday, to discuss their “general behaviour.”

The PM reportedly accused them of briefing against him and partner Carrie Symonds – and showed them text messages forwarded to Ms Symonds to prove it.

Mr Johnson is reported to have then ordered them out of the door.



Lee Cain was also asked to leave yesterday, according to reports

After Cummings was seen leaving Downing Street, Sir Edward Lister was announced as the interim chief of staff pending a permanent appointment.

The BBC reported that Mr Cummings’ departure had been brought forward given the “upset in the team” and that the PM wanted to “clear the air and move on”.

Tory backbenchers urged Number 10 to use the exit of the aide – whose mid-lockdown trip to Durham cemented his notoriety – as an opportunity to restore the values of “respect, integrity and trust”.



Carrie Symonds reportedly opposed Lee Cain’s promotion as chief of staff

Sir Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Liaison Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s an opportunity to reset how the Government operates and to emphasise some values about what we want to project as a Conservative Party in Government.

“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.

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“Nobody is indispensable.”

Gavin Barwell, former chief of staff to then prime minister Theresa May, said Mr Cummings’s departure was a “big moment”.

He tweeted: “Boris now has an opportunity to get a more harmonious, effective Downing Street operation (like he had at City Hall); improve relations with the parliamentary party; and lead a less confrontational, more unifying government that better reflects his own character.”

Mr Cummings was regarded as being more powerful than most ministers, controlling the Government agenda on matters such as the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign ahead of Brexit.

Alongside Mr Cain, he had been accused by MPs, aides and Ms Symonds of destroying Mr Johnson’s premiership.





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