Dominic Cummings’ days in Downing Street numbered, says Alan Johnson

Dominic Cummings' days as senior adviser to Boris Johnson are numbered, according to a former member of Tony Blair's Cabinet.

Alan Johnson said the public perceived the Vote Leave mastermind as the "puppet master" and that meant he would have to leave Downing Street as there can only be one leader in No 10 – the Prime Minister.

The former MP said: "I think his days are numbered precisely because the public perceive him as the puppet master. That's bad for Government and that's bad for Boris Johnson.

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Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Senior political aide Dominic Cummings speaks to Stuart Wheeler, at his book launch for Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics, at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Stuart Wheeler (left) with Dominic Cummings at the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Pro remain campaigner Steve Bray interviews Dominic Cummings as he arrives at the Cabinet office in London,United Kingdom on 22nd August 2019. (photo by Claire Doherty/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings leaves following a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his senior aid Dominic Cummings as they leave Downing Street, central London.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings, in Downing Street in Westminster, London.
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 7: Dominic Cummings, special advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street on August 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Number 10 Chief of Staff Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street in central London on August 2, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
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"No one else who has come in as a special adviser who has been played by Benedict Cumberbatch on the telly, so that kind of goes to your head.

"But no one else has come in as a special adviser to the Prime Minister who has been such an abject failure in his previous department.

"The reason Michael Gove was moved from Education by David Cameron was because he was at war with everyone in the education world.

"And why was he at war with everyone in the education world? It had a little bit to do with his special adviser and that was Dominic Cummings.

"He's on his way out."

Alan Johnson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Alan Johnson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Johnson added: "Boris Johnson likes to be the star and as a long-term thing if you are Prime Minister you really don't want anyone else being the most powerful person."

The former postman, who served in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's Cabinets, was speaking at an event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival alongside Theresa May's former director of communications Katie Perrior to discuss the role of special advisers in Government.

Ms Perrior said some of the briefing of journalists coming out of Government by "unnamed sources" was being attributed to Mr Cummings.

"Is Dominic Cummings speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister or is Dominic Cummings speaking on behalf of Dominic Cummings?," she asked.

"That's the concern.

"The power obviously lies with Dominic but someone like me would really be wanting to say, 'Either this is the Prime Minister or someone close to the Prime Minister saying this but it is not you saying this because now you have your own voice'.

"Now we have created a monster, as it were, inside No 10 whether we like it or not who the media will go to if they are not getting anything out of the Prime Minister.

"We have another avenue and I think that can be quite dangerous."

Mr Johnson and Ms Perrior said that the "aggression" exhibited by some previous special advisers who served both the Labour and the Conservative governments was not the best way to operate.

Ms Perrior famously quit Downing Street shortly before the 2017 general election and blamed a toxic atmosphere inside No 10 on Theresa May's two joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy.

"Deep down looking back it was the prime minister's fault because she allowed that to happen and didn't take control of the situation and when they went she just tried to find it in someone else," she said.

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