Dominic Cummings ‘set to leave Downing Street by Christmas’

- The Brexit folk hero who vowed to shake-up Whitehall | January blog post predicted he would quit

Boris Johnson's most senior adviser Dominic Cummings is reportedly set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.

Mr Cummings told the BBC that "rumours of me threatening to resign are invented" after speculation that he would follow communications director Lee Cain in leaving Number 10.

However, he said that his "position hasn't changed since my January blog" when he wrote that he hoped to make himself "largely redundant" by the end of 2020.

The BBC also quoted a Downing Street source as saying Mr Cummings would be "out of Government" by Christmas.

It comes just a day after a bitter power struggle in Number 10 led to the resignation of Mr Cain.

He had been offered the post of chief of staff but a backlash among Tories and Mr Johnson's inner circle ultimately led him on Wednesday to announce his departure from Number 10 rather than a promotion.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London, following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London, the morning after Lee Cain announced he is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London for a second time the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings (R) and government advisor Cleo Watson arrive in Downing street in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings is portrayed as a scheming villain by 'Spitting Image' puppet creators. (Avalon/BritBox)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street ahead of a cabinet meeting on September 1, 2020 in London, England. MPs returned to Westminster today following the summer recess. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, the chief advisor to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, chats to a police officer after moving his car in Downing Street, London, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Dominic Cummings, adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his London home on July 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he arrives at his house in London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement at 10 Downing Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his house in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings leaves following a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, arrives in Downing Street, London.
Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, arrives in Downing Street, London.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on December 16, 2019. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Saturday to repay the trust of former opposition voters who gave his Conservatives a mandate to take Britain out of the European Union next month. Johnson toured a leftist bastion once represented by former Labour leader Tony Blair in a bid to show his intent to unite the country after years of divisions over Brexit. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key adviser Dominic Cummings leaving his north London home following yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle. (Photo by David Mirzoeff/PA Images via Getty Images)
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisor Dominic Cummings, left, leave 10 Downing Street in London, and get in a car together to go to the Houses of Parliament, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it's Parliament's fault, not his, that Britain will not be leaving the European Union as scheduled on Oct. 31. The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020, after Johnson failed to get British lawmakers to ratify his divorce deal with the bloc in time to leave this week. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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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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.
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.
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
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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)
EMBARGOED TO 2330 THURSDAY AUGUST 6 File photo dated 21/07/20 of senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, whose trip to Durham at the height of lockdown while suffering from Covid-19 drastically undermined public trust in the Government�s handling of the pandemic, according to new research.
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Mr Cummings and Mr Cain are close political allies, having worked together since the Brexit campaign. Mr Cummings was said to be unhappy with the way his friend had been treated.

The Telegraph reported an "associate" of Mr Cain as saying the communication chief's departure was the "beginning of the end for Dom".

"Lee is the person who has been covering Dom's flank 24 hours a day and he will soon be gone," the source told the paper.

Conservative MPs have urged Mr Johnson to use events to reshape the team inside Downing Street and reconnect with the parliamentary party, some of whom feel he has been "lost" to advisers over the past year.

Sir Charles Walker, vice chairman of the 1922 Committee, told BBC Two's Newsnight: "If Boris, the Prime Minister, gets the chief of staff position right – he gets the right person in that position – he will plant his standard firmly back in the middle of the Conservative parliamentary party.

"We feel we've lost him for the last year. We want him back – he belongs to us, he doesn't belong to the advisers, he belongs to the parliamentary party that elected him and he got elected at the last general election."

The infighting spilling into the open sparked criticism from Tory MPs.

Conservative backbencher Sir Roger Gale told the PA news agency: "The Government, and Downing Street particularly, should be concentrating all of its efforts on the pandemic and on the end game of Brexit, and frankly this is a distraction that cannot and should not be allowed to take place and the Prime Minister has got to get a grip on it."

And senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood told Sky News: "Let's move a little bit away from Eastenders and more to the West Wing."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman James Slack, who confirmed he would be replacing Mr Cain when he departs in the new year, insisted that Mr Johnson was not being distracted from the national crisis by the bitter row.

"You've seen from the Prime Minister this week that he's absolutely focused on taking all the steps that are required to equip the country to beat coronavirus," the spokesman said on Thursday.

Mr Slack, a former Daily Mail journalist who also served as Theresa May's official spokesman when she led the country, said he would remain a civil servant when he succeeds Mr Cain.

In his resignation statement, Mr Cain confirmed he had been offered a promotion to the key position of the Prime Minister's chief of staff.

The move – which would have meant he was one of just a handful of people in No 10 with direct one-to-one access to Mr Johnson – was seen as entrenching the grip of the Vote Leave faction on the Downing Street operation.

However it ran into immediate resistance, with Mr Johnson's fiancee, Carrie Symonds – who has clashed in the past with Mr Cummings – reportedly strongly opposed to the appointment.

Ms Symonds is a former Tory press chief who has served as a special adviser in previous governments.

Allegra Stratton, the former broadcaster brought in to host televised No 10 news conferences from next year, was also said to have objected to the appointment.

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