Tory Backbenchers Have Welcomed The News That Dominic Cummings Will Leave Downing Street By The End Of The Year
Dominic Cummings dismissed claims he was resigning following the departure of Lee Cain (PA)
Tory backbenchers have welcomed the news that the prime minister’s controversial chief adviser Dominic Cummings is 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 represents “an opportunity to reset how the government operates”.
Sir Bernard, who sits on the board of Vote Leave, added that, while he had a “great deal of respect” for Mr Cummings, “no prime minister can afford a single advisor to become a running story dominating his government's communications”. Cummings previously attacked Jenkin on his blog prior to entering government.
The controversial adviser told the BBC on Friday that his "position hasn't changed since my January blog", in which he said he hoped to make himself "largely redundant" by the end of the year.
But the top aide dismissed rumours that he was planning to resign following the departure of director of communications Lee Cain — a close ally of Mr Cummmings who worked with him on the Vote Leave referendum campaign.
Transport minister Grant Shapps confirmed the move on Friday morning, telling Sky News that Mr Cummings will “be missed...but advisers come and go.”
He added: "In any government, you require people who are going to shake things up and come up with ideas, and he's actually been that person."
Senior backbencher Sir Roger Gale welcomed the news, adding that Mr Cummings had become a “distraction”.
He told Sky News: “I think he's been a malign influence at the centre of Downing Street for too long, and it's right that he should go.”
He continued: “This is an opportunity for the prime minister to get himself a heavyweight political advisor. That will do the job thoroughly and take us forward.”
News also broke on Friday morning that Sonia Khan — a former adviser to then-chancellor Sajid Javid who was escorted out of Downing Street by police on the orders of Dominic Cummings — has been given a payoff from the government.
In a statement, released via the FDA union, Ms Khan said she was “no longer pursuing” an employment tribunal claim against the Treasury having “reached a settlement”.
She was sacked last year after Mr Cummings accused her of having inappropriate contact with individuals linked to the former chancellor Philip Hammond, a claim she denied.
Dominic Cummings attracted controversy earlier this year after it was revealed that he had travelled from London to Durham during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Dozens of Tory MPs publicly called for his resignation following the incident, including Steve Baker, Damian Collins, Peter Bone, Caroline Nokes and Sir Robert Syms.