Former Tory leader says you 'can smell' the improvement in Downing Street since Cummings and Cain left

Mason Boycott-Owen
·3-min read
Lord Hague of Richmond said Boris Johnson's former chief adviser and spin doctor, who left Downing Street last year, were "brilliant people" but that "maybe running governments wasn't their greatest skill" - PA /Victoria Jones 
Lord Hague of Richmond said Boris Johnson's former chief adviser and spin doctor, who left Downing Street last year, were "brilliant people" but that "maybe running governments wasn't their greatest skill" - PA /Victoria Jones

Lord Hague, the former Conservative leader, has said that you can “smell the improvement” in government since Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain have left.

He said that Boris Johnson’s chief advisor and director of communications, who left Number 10 last year, were “brilliant people” but that “running governments wasn’t their greatest skill.”

Their departure has changed the balance of power in Downing Street between acolytes of Mr Cummings and those of Mr Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds.

Since Mr Cummings and Mr Cain left Number 10 Mr Johnson has hired Dan Rosenfield, a former Treasury child servant, as his chief of staff.

In an interview with Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Lord Hague of Richmond said there had been a "big improvement" since the two left Government.

“I don't want to personally attack the people who left, they were brilliant people but maybe running governments wasn't their greatest skill compared to running campaigns,” he said.

"Well, now some people have been brought in who are very good at running government.

"The Prime Minister has a new chief of staff, he's made other recent appointments and you can tell over the last couple of months that government has worked better.

"There has been more under-promising and over-delivering rather than the other way round, there have been fewer rows, there have been fewer destructive leaks and side briefings to the press.

"You can just tell, you can smell it, that things have improved and the way things work in government, the public can smell it as well."

Over the weekend, the continued friction in Downing Street saw Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, accused of orchestrating the removal of Boris Johnson’s chief advisor on the Union in an attempt to reassert his power in Government.

Whitehall sources told The Telegraph that Mr Gove was involved in the removal of Oliver Lewis’ departure from Number 10 on Friday.

Mr Lewis left as head of Downing Street’s Union Unit after just weeks in the post after the resignation of his predecessor, Luke Graham.

Mr Lewis became the latest former Vote Leave staffer to leave Government following Mr Cummings and Mr Cain.

Sources told the Telegraph that Mr Gove believed Mr Lewis was trying to remove responsibility for the strategy on the union from his brief.

Mr Lewis’ departure came after Baroness Finn and Henry Newman, both allies of Michael Gove and close friends of Carrie Symonds were appointed to roles in Downing Street this month.

The Prime Minister’s fiancée has been accused of filing Number 10 with her own friends and political allies to the extent that a conservative think tank has called for an inquiry into her “possible influence” in government.

One Whitehall source told the Telegraph this weekend that “some of the stuff about Carrie was totally unfair and felt quite sexist to me.”

This weekend it was also revealed that Dilyn, the couple’s pet dog, has been embroiled as part of the feud between factions in Downing Street.

According to the Mail on Sunday it has been claimed that Mr Cummings has a grudge against the dog because it once humped his leg.

It was reclaimed that he is now using the dog to fight a “proxy war” against Carrie Symonds after Mr Cummings was accused of being behind allegations that Dilyn had chewed up antique furniture and books at the Prime Minister’s countryside retreat.