Dominic Cummings And Lee Cain Are To Leave Downing Street With Immediate Effect After A Bitter Number 10 Power Struggle
Dominic Cummings was pictured leaving Number 10 with a box of belongings this evening (PA)
Two of Boris Johnson’s most senior and trusted advisors are to leave with immediate effect after a bitter power struggle inside Number 10.
After several days of briefings and counter-briefings the week ended with Dominic Cummings being pictured exiting Downing Street with a box of his belongings as he quit government.
It began with a row over whether director of communications Lee Cain would become the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.
But following a backlash against the move Cain revealed on Wednesday night he planned to step down by the end of the year.
His close ally and fellow Vote Leave alumni Mr Cummings then suggested he too would leave his post in the coming weeks.
However as photos emerged this evening of the senior aide coming out from Number 10 for what looked like the final time it was reported he was stepping down with immediate effect.
It soon emerged Mr Cain would also be leaving his post, creating a power vacuum at the heart of the PM’s team.
According to reports, Cummings and Cain were asked to leave by the Prime Minister after a 45-minute meeting this afternoon, though sources have suggested the pair will continue to work for Mr Johnson until mid-December, albeit not from Downing Street.
There was no official word about their position, however a Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has today asked Sir Edward Lister to take on the role of chief of staff for an interim period pending a permanent appointment to the post.”
And a Number 10 source told Sky News’ Beth Rigby: “The PM wanted to clear the air and move things forward and Lord Lister’s appointment is important in that regard. The PM thanked them for their hard work.”
Earlier, backbenchers welcomed the news that Cummings was set to leave Downing Street by the end of the year.
Liaison committee chair Sir Bernard Jenkin told the BBC’s Today programme that the departure represented “an opportunity to reset how the government operates”.
Earlier today it was also revealed that Sonia Khan — a former adviser to then-chancellor Sajid Javid who was escorted out of Downing Street by police on the orders of Cummings — has been given a payoff by the government.