Watch: Dominic Cummings leaves Number 10 holding a box
Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street “with immediate effect”
Boris Johnson’s controversial aide pictured leaving Number 10 carrying box
Cummings still employed by the government – but unlikely to be seen in Downing Street again
Departure follows bitter power struggle in Downing Street
It effectively brings tumultuous spell as Johnson’s top adviser to an end, with Tory MPs calling for a “fresh start”
Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, has left Downing Street with immediate effect, the BBC has reported.
Cummings was pictured carrying a box away from Number 10 late on Friday afternoon, before heading for the Downing Street gates off Whitehall.
He will still be employed until the middle of next month, with reports suggesting he will be working from home. But it is unlikely he will be seen in Downing Street again.
The controversial aide had previously been expected to leave Number 10 at the end of the year.
His departure followed a power struggle at the heart of government that also saw ally Lee Cain resign as communications chief on Wednesday.
Cain had been offered the post of chief of staff, but a backlash among Tories and Johnson’s inner circle prompted his departure.
The BBC reported Cummings had spoken to Johnson earlier on Friday and it was decided it was best for him to go immediately.
Cummings worked with Johnson while orchestrating the successful Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Johnson then appointed him as his top adviser after he became prime minister in July last year. He was considered more powerful than most ministers with his control over the government’s agenda.
Cummings was known in Westminster for his run-ins with ministers, MPs and Downing Street staff. Tensions even led to the resignation of chancellor Sajid Javid in February.
However, Cummings also found notoriety among the wider public following his infamous trips to Durham and Barnard Castle days after Johnson imposed the first national coronavirus lockdown.
It resulted in an extraordinary press conference in the Downing Street rose garden on 25 May in which Cummings tried to explain his actions.
Amid huge public anger, Johnson faced widespread calls to sack Cummings – but he kept his job.
Six months on, however, the hugely influential aide has all but left the government.
The departures of Cummings and Cain from Downing Street are likely to herald a change in how Johnson’s administration operates, with senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin having called for the PM to restore “respect, integrity and trust”.
Responding to Friday’s news, former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers – who was sacked by Johnson in February – also said Cummings’ departure is “a good opportunity for a fresh start”.
The former environment secretary told PA: “Clearly there are concerns about the dismissive attitude sometimes shown by Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings towards people in government and MPs on the backbenches.
“And this is an opportunity to move on from that and to have a more collaborative approach.”