UK PM’s aide to leave Downing Street by Xmas

Dominic Cummings, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief aide, is expected to leave his position at the Downing Street by Christmas, a media report said on Friday.

A Downing Street source told the BBC that Cummings would be “out of government” by Christmas, “otherwise he would be pushed soon”.

But speaking to the BBC, Cummings said that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented”, adding that his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog” when he said that he wanted to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of 2020.

The BBC report comes after Lee Cain, Director of Communications and an ally of Cummings stood down amid reports of internal tensions at Downing Street.

Cain and Cummings are long-time colleagues and had worked together on the ‘Leave’ campaign during the 2016 European Union referendum.

After Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019, he hired Cummings as his senior adviser.

Their “Get Brexit Done” campaign strategy helped the ruling Conservative Party win a large majority in the December 2019 general election, which finally led to the UK exiting the EU, the BBC report said.

But Cummings has been mired in controversy this year after several lockdown breaches.

In June, when the country was under a national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he drove 260 miles from London to his family home in Durham with his four-year-old and wife, who was suffering with virus symptoms.

A few days later, he drove the family to Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday, to “test” whether his eyesight was up to the long drive back to London after feeling unwell himself.

Responding to the development, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC that he was “not particularly surprised” by the Cummings’ exit announcement, adding that “advisers come and go over a period of time”.

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