Dominic Cummings quits Downing Street
Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has left Downing Street more quickly than expected, according to a person familiar with operations within the office.
After a conversation with the prime minister at around midday Friday, it was decided that the best plan for restoring calm to the day-to-day operation of Downing Street was that Cummings leave right away rather than at the end of the year, as suggested on Thursday, the person said. He would continue to be employed during a handover period.
Late Thursday, the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg had tweeted that Cummings would leave Downing Street by Christmas.
It comes after a torrid week for Cummings, after key ally and long-serving aide to Johnson Lee Cain also quit. No. 10 has been engulfed in a row over who becomes the prime minister’s next chief of staff. Cain was reportedly initially offered the job, sparking an immediate backlash from ministers and government aides who saw it as an attempted power grab by the Vote Leave faction around Johnson.
Both Cummings and Cain were key figures in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum and have been central to Johnson’s Downing Street operation since he became prime minister in July 2019.
A Downing Street spokesperson 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.”
Cristina Gallardo and Charlie Cooper contributed reporting.