PM refuses to sack controversial aide branded ‘a political anarchist’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected calls to sack his controversial adviser Dominic Cummings as he again insisted there will be no delay to Brexit beyond October 31.

Mr Johnson spoke out on Friday after former Tory leader Sir John Major unleashed a scathing attack on the PM’s aide, branding him “a political anarchist”.

In a speech in Glasgow on Thursday night, Sir John urged the new Prime Minister to get rid of the “overmighty” Mr Cummings “and do it quickly”.

Cabinet meeting
Dominic Cummings has come under fire from former prime minister Sir John Major (Victoria Jones/PA)

Asked if he would now sack his key adviser, Mr Johnson said: “Look, advisers advise and ministers decide.”

The PM was speaking during a visit to Aberdeenshire at the end of a turbulent week in politics.

Mr Johnson withdrew the whip from 21 Tory MPs who rebelled against his Government in the Commons before failing to win enough votes in the House to force an early general election.

But he insisted he was not prepared to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union beyond the end of next month.

A cross-party bid to require the PM to ask for a Brexit extension if there is not a deal in place cleared the Commons on Wednesday and is due to complete its progress through the Lords on Friday.

Asked if he would not seek the extension, even if passed in law, he said: “I don’t want a delay.”

Mr Johnson told reporters: “The Bill that is still before Parliament would, in theory, mean that the Government of the UK was obliged to write a letter to Brussels asking for a pointless delay to leaving the EU.

“I don’t think that’s what people want and I think we were very clear about that and not only would it oblige the Government to do that, it would give the EU the power to decide how long the UK had to stay in and I really can’t think for the life of me that that is a democratic way forward.

“The big picture is we’ve spent a long time trying to sort of fudge this thing and I think the British public really want us to get out.

“They don’t want more dither and delay.”

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