Farewell, Dominic Cummings, the power behind Boris Johnson

Paul Dallison writes Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

In the battle of Boris Johnson versus Middle-Aged Bald Men, the U.K. prime minister has won.

On Wednesday evening, Lee Cain, Downing Street’s director of communications, quit as part of a row over who would become the prime minister’s next chief of staff. Cain had been a senior official in the Vote Leave campaign and during the EU referendum worked closely with Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s top aide. A day later came the bombshell that Cummings was also on his way out and would leave Downing Street by Christmas.

For Cummings’ many detractors, Christmas came early when he left Downing Street carrying a box of his belongings on Friday. The BBC reported that his departure had been brought forward given the “upset in the team,” without making clear whether that was upset that Cummings was leaving or upset that wasn’t going quickly enough.

Senior advisers aren’t normally headline news, but Cummings was. Here are some of his high-profile moments.

The King of Barnard Castle

Perhaps the defining image of Cummings was him sat behind a trestle table in the Downing Street rose garden (if the Trump team had booked it, he would have appeared at the Rose Garden Chinese takeaway in Clapton) explaining why he broke the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown rules — an unprecedented move for a government special adviser.

He insisted he had no regrets about making a 260-mile trip during lockdown, nor about a 30-mile detour he took before making the trip home.

Cummings told the press conference his wife became ill and the pair took the view it would be better to be near young family members who could help look after their four-year-old son.

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