ONDON — Dominic Cummings has defied the odds and won again, and this time he did it by getting out of the way.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s maverick key strategist — the architect of the 2016 Brexit campaign — helped lay the foundations for a shock election result on Thursday that delivered the Tories’ biggest majority since their heroine Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 landslide.
The Eton-educated Johnson has been written-off over and over, in the years since Cummings helped make him the poster boy for Brexit during the U.K.’s referendum campaign.
After taking over from former Prime Minister Theresa May in July in an internal party coup, Johnson faced a fractious parliament that refused time and again to endorse his Brexit blueprint.
His attempt to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the European Union was widely derided, and his poll numbers predicted a near-impossible path to victory, with the Tories hemmed in between the Brexit Party in the pro-Leave heartlands and Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National party in pro-Remain Scotland and London.
Johnson returns to No. 10 Downing Street having cleared the House of Commons of many of its anti-Brexit protagonists
Yet a series of high-risk key decisions in the months leading up to the December 12 election, overseen by his gambler-in-chief Cummings, have paid off.
Johnson returns to No. 10 Downing Street having cleared the House of Commons of many of its anti-Brexit protagonists and supported by a fresh crop of obedient Tory MPs who have signed up to his Brexit vision.