Dominic Cummings' exit from Downing Street while holding a large box was "entirely deliberate" as he wanted to "leave an image", former Brexit secretary David Davis has claimed.
Conservative MP Mr Davis said the senior adviser could have left Number 10 through less visible exits, but instead chose to walk out in front of the waiting press.
Images of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's right-hand man leaving Downing Street on Friday have featured heavily across national newspaper front pages.
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.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings leaves following a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Advisor to PM Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street for the House of Commons for PMQ's in Central London, UK on October 23, 2019. (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA
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.
Senior aide to the prime minister, Dominic Cummings, at the Conservative Party Conference at the Manchester Convention Centre.
Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former senior adviser Dominic Cummings, sits during the annual Nato heads of government summit at The Grove hotel in Watford, Hertfordshire.
Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, listens during a press conference at Downing Street, London, on the government's coronavirus action plan.
Dominic Cummings, advisor to the Prime minister arrives in Downing Street with his assistant, Cleo Watson. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 14, 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in Chequers, Buckinghamshire, where he is convalescing following his hospitalisation with coronavirus. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 14/02/20 of Dominic Cummings outside his London home, apparently Cummings was spoken to by police after he appeared to have breached government lockdown rules by travelling to Durham when he was supposed to be self isolating in London in late March.
FILE PHOTO dated 26/09/19 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings. Lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government with the Prime Minister facing pressure to sack his closest aide after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aid Dominic Cummings leaves his north London home, as lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government with the Prime Minister facing pressure to sack his closest aide after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings leaves his north London home, as lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
A protester outside the north London home of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings , as lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings leaving 10 Downing Street, London, as lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
Movement in front of Dominic Cummings' house whilst his press conference takes place at Downing Street. *Editors note content*
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for the Government, arriving at his home.
A person walks past a Dominic Cummings protest banner on a roundabout in Wavertree, Liverpool after allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Dominic Cummings top aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at the back of Downing Street after the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a panel featuring Political advisor Dominic Cummings, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.
Caricatures of politicians on large advertisement board for satirical television puppet show Spitting Image inside Westminster Tube Station. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Picture date: Tuesday September 15, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
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.
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Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Saturday, Mr Davis said: "Almost certainly Dominic decided he was going to leave an image. That would have been entirely deliberate.
"Just so your viewers know, he could have walked out the back door, which is almost sort of underground, not visible, or he could have walked out of the entrance out of Whitehall. Out of the Cabinet Office. Either would have been possible.
"He chose to leave that image walking out with a box. He could have perfectly well put his coffee mug or whatever else was in it into his rucksack, but he didn't."
The BBC reported Mr Cummings' departure was brought forward because of "upset in the team" at Downing Street and that Mr Johnson wanted to "clear the air and move on".
Some media reports have said Mr Cummings has quit his post with immediate effect. The PA news agency understands he will still be employed until the middle of next month, with other reports suggesting he will work from home on projects such as mass coronavirus testing.
Despite the controversy surrounding his departure, and that of Downing Street director of communications Lee Cain, Mr Cummings has said his "position hasn't changed since my January blog", in which he said he hoped to be "largely redundant" by 2021.
Mr Davis said the image of Mr Cummings leaving would help the Prime Minister "reset" the Government.
He added: "The photograph will last the weekend and people will remember it, but it's not the key.
"And at one level, as I said, Boris will want to reset Government and in a sense, that photograph does part of the resetting for him."
There has previously been tension between Mr Cummings and Mr Davis, with the former describing the MP in 2017 as "thick as mince".