BORIS JOHNSON KICKS OUT TOP AIDE DOMINIC CUMMINGS
Boris Johnson has ordered Dominic Cummings to leave Downing Street with immediate effect in a dramatic end to a tumultuous era which leaves a void at the heart of Downing Street, Peter Walker, Dan Sabbagh and Rajeev Syal reported for the Guardian.
Cummings and his ally Lee Cain – both ardent Brexiters blamed by members of parliament (MPs) for a macho culture and a series of communications crises – were asked to step down instead of staying in place until Christmas, the report added. One source said the prime minister told Cummings to go following accusations he had briefed against Johnson. Special advisers were said to be delighted by his departure.
The prime minister was immediately urged to appoint an MP as his permanent chief of staff to help heal deep divisions with backbenchers amid warnings that his parliamentary party risked becoming ungovernable.
Sir Edward Lister, Johnson’s chief strategic adviser, would become interim chief of staff until there was a permanent appointment, No 10 said. Cummings and Cain will continue to work for Downing Street until mid-December, with one source saying Cummings would be “working from home for six weeks.” The turmoil comes in the middle of a pandemic whose official UK death toll surpassed 50,000 this week, and days from a looming Brexit deal deadline. It was confirmed that Cummings was planning to leave by the end of the year following a bitter row over his close ally Cain. Cain’s promotion from head of communications to chief of staff was blocked by Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, and other staffers this week, leading him to quit.