Boris Johnson has lost two of his most senior aides after an explosive week of behind-the-scenes chaos in Downing Street. Dominic Cummings is the biggest scalp—celebrated as the architect of Brexit in some quarters and likened to Steve Bannon in others—he was the brains behind most of Johnson’s policy agenda. This week he should have been helping to negotiate a Brexit deal with the European Union, instead he was reportedly battling a rival faction led by the prime minister’s fiancée Carrie Symonds, who was previously director of communications for the Conservative Party. Cummings tried to promote his old Brexit ally Lee Cain from PM’s spokesman to chief of staff, but the move has ended with the old Vote Leave comrades out of Number 10. Cummings narrowly survived in the post earlier this year when he was caught breaking lockdown restrictions to drive to Barnard Castle in Durham when he believed he had been infected with the coronavirus.
Cummings chose to leave No. 10 via the famous black front door rather than using one of the numerous discrete side exits. A senior Downing Street official told the FT: “That’s the last time he walks down the road like Kim Kardashian, preening for the cameras like the spoilt lord of Barnard Castle. In future advisers will go round the back and let the elected prime minister use the front door.”