Dominic Cummings: PM’s top adviser leaves No 10 to ‘clear the air’

Publishedduration22 minutes ago

media captionDominic Cummings leaves Number 10

Dominic Cummings has left Downing Street after internal battles over his role as Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.

The BBC understands he will continue to work from home, on issues such as mass coronavirus testing, until the middle of December.

The prime minister is said to want to “clear the air and move on”.

Mr Cummings has been at the heart of a No 10 power struggle, which has also seen communications director Lee Cain leave.

Several Tory MPs have welcomed the pair’s departure as a chance for Mr Johnson to make a fresh start.

The BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mr Cummings departure from No 10 had been brought forward given the “upset in the team” in Downing Street, for which she said it had been a “difficult week”.

She said there had been long-running tensions between different factions in No 10 but this “slow burning fuse exploded fast when it finally happened”.

Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain are long-time colleagues, having worked together on the Leave campaign during the EU referendum.

When Mr Cain’s exit was announced on Wednesday, it prompted rumours that his ally would also step down.

In response, Mr Cummings told the BBC “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented” but said his “position hasn’t changed” since he wrote in January that he wanted to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of 2020.

‘Different approach’

Pending what is expected to be a wide-ranging shake-up in No 10, Lord Lister – a close ally of Mr Johnson’s who served as his deputy when he was London Mayor – has been named interim chief of staff, a position which had been vacant.

Leaving through the front door, carrying a cardboard box – Dominic Cummings departure tonight was very public.

It came after a conversation with the prime minister – and after a tumultuous few days in Downing Street. He’ll still be on the books until next month, but isn’t expected to return to No 10.

Some in the Conservative Party – and in government – will be toasting his departure tonight. He angered some with his style – while many Tory MPs believe Boris Johnson had too tight a group of advisors from the Vote Leave campaign.

Many others in government and beyond credit him with helping deliver Brexit – both in the 2016 referendum and then in Number Ten as one of Boris Johnson’s key advisors.

Some hope his departure will mark a change of style in government. But remember the ultimate boss is the prime minister – and the direction in the next few months will be up to him.

Boris Johnson worked with Mr Cummings on the 2016 Vote Leave campaign and hired Mr Cummings to be his senior adviser,

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