Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street 'with immediate effect'

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read

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”

  • Visit the Yahoo homepage for more stories

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.

Dominic Cummings leaving Downing Street holding a box. (Reuters/Henry Nicholls)
Dominic Cummings leaving Downing Street holding a box on Friday. (Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

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.

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. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street on Friday holding a box. (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

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.

Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings speaks at a press conference in the Rose Garden at 10 Downing Street in central London on May 25, 2020, following allegations he and his family travelled from London to Durham, while the nation was under full-lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top adviser Domonic Cummings said Monday he acted "reasonably and legally" despite mounting pressure on him to resign for allegedly breaking coronavirus lockdown rules. "I don't think there is one rule for me and one rule for all people," Cummings told reporters in his first official press conference on the job. "In all circumstances, I believe I behaved reasonably and legally." (Photo by Jonathan Brady / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN BRADY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings at the rose garden press conference on 25 May. (Jonathan Brady/pool/AFP)

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”.

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 and Boris Johnson pictured in Downing Street in October last year. (AP/Matt Dunham)

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.”