No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings ‘asked Boris Johnson to give him special powers in Downing Street’


Dominic Cummings asked Boris Johnson to grant him special powers in Downing Street which have made him more powerful than the PM’s special advisers.

The assistant to the Prime Minister is understood to have a document – signed by Mr Johnson – stating that he has control over certain government projects.

The agreement has little legal standing, meaning it has not received the same criticism lobbied at Tony Blair when he gave his press secretary Alastair Campbell and his chief of staff Jonathan Powell powers to order civil servants to obey their ministers.

The assistant to the Prime Minister is understood to have a document - signed by Mr Johnson - stating that he has control over certain government projects

Dominic Cummings (right) asked Boris Johnson (left) to grant him special powers in Downing Street which have made him more powerful than the PM’s special advisers

A Downing Street source told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Before he took the job, Dom made Boris sign a contract specifying what his powers were to be, that he would be allowed to hire and fire SpAds [and] confirming his authority over other key government projects.’

Special advisers – known as SpAds- provide advice and guidance to ministers and often liaise with the media. 

Another source said: ‘Boris asked Dom to come in and offered him the job, and Dom said, these are the areas I want control over: SpAds and personnel, and other key policy areas including the ARPA stuff, and I think some immigration policy and perhaps even reforming the civil service.’

It comes after Downing Street launched a recruitment website to open up the way ministerial aides are hired on Thursday.

Traditionally, party insiders have been appointed as special advisers but the Government is now seeking ‘talented applicants from all walks of life’. 

The move comes amid concerns about the treatment of SpAds after Sonia Khan – an adviser to former chancellor Sajid Javid – was escorted out of Downing Street by police officers after being sacked by Mr Cummings.

In a pointed resignation speech in the Commons former chancellor Sajid Javid criticised the growing influence of Mr Cummings (pictured)

In a pointed resignation speech in the Commons former chancellor Sajid Javid criticised the growing influence of Mr Cummings (pictured)

And the PM’s chief adviser was challenged at an internal meeting of aides in Number 10 earlier this month, with one aide saying it was ‘unkind’ of him to say half of them would be fired.

The website – spadjobs.uk – states that the Conservative Party is ‘launching a search for talented and experienced communications and digital professionals’.

It reads: ‘In order to help the party support the Government’s work to level-up the country, the best candidates will be considered for political appointments to serve as Special Advisers.’

Candidates are asked to send a CV and cover letter by March 15.

A senior Tory source said: ‘We want to find experienced candidates who are prepared to work hard and help us unleash Britain’s potential – in particular, we want people who have a background in advising business leaders and SMEs.

‘Currently, talent is spread equally around the country but opportunity isn’t.

‘We want to change that and encourage people from all backgrounds to come and help us build a brighter future for our country.’

In a pointed resignation speech in the Commons former chancellor Sajid Javid criticised the growing influence of Mr Cummings. 

Mr Javid warned that the merging of Treasury and No 10 teams ordered by Mr Cummings would stifle debate and was ‘not in the national interest’

Mr Javid warned that the merging of Treasury and No 10 teams ordered by Mr Cummings would stifle debate and was ‘not in the national interest’

He warned that the merging of Treasury and No 10 teams ordered by Mr Cummings would stifle debate and was ‘not in the national interest’.

Mr Javid also predicted that the Tories would wreck their reputation for economic competence and damage Britain’s public finances if a Budget spending spree resulted in higher taxes.

Mr Javid quit at this month’s reshuffle after being told he could only keep his job if he agreed to sack all of his advisers and work with a ‘joint’ team based in No 10. 

The ‘joint economic unit’ was seen as a power grab by Mr Cummings who had clashed repeatedly with Mr Javid’s advisers behind the scenes. 

Downing Street said the unit had led to ‘more effective working’ between the PM and new Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

But Mr Javid said it undermined the independence of the Treasury, with potentially damaging impacts on the Government and the economy. 

In an apparent reference to Mr Cummings, he warned that ‘no particular person – or even a government – has a monopoly on the best ideas’.

With the PM looking on, he said good governance depended on ‘mutual respect and trust that allows for constructive, creative tension between teams’. 

He added: ‘A chancellor, like all cabinet ministers, has to be able to give candid advice to a prime minister so he is speaking truth to power.

‘I believe that the arrangement proposed would significantly inhibit that and it would not have been in the national interest.’ Mr Javid paid tribute to both Boris Johnson and Mr Sunak.

But, in a further jibe at the chief adviser, he said he would not comment further on the ‘Cummings and goings’ in No 10. 

The move comes amid concerns about the treatment of SpAds after Sonia Khan - an adviser to former chancellor Sajid Javid - was escorted out of Downing Street by police officers after being sacked by Mr Cummings (pictured)

The move comes amid concerns about the treatment of SpAds after Sonia Khan – an adviser to former chancellor Sajid Javid – was escorted out of Downing Street by police officers after being sacked by Mr Cummings (pictured)

The former chancellor also laid bare Tory tensions over tax and spending.

Describing himself as a ‘proud, low tax Conservative’, he said that ‘not everyone in the centre of Government feels the pressure to balance the books’.

He warned that the UK’s tax burden was already ‘the highest it’s been in 50 years’ – and said it would be morally wrong for the country to live beyond its means.

‘At a time when we need to do much more to level up across the generations, it would not be right to pass the bill for our day-to-day consumption to our children and grandchildren,’ he said.

Mr Javid also warned Mr Sunak not to abandon tight fiscal rules, which Mr Cummings is said to have railed against. 

He said the financial markets would take a dim view of the UK if it let the public finances run out of control again.

‘To govern is to choose,’ he added. 

‘And these rules crystallise the choices required: to keep spending under control, to keep taxes low, to root out waste and to pass the litmus test, rightly set in stone in our manifesto, of debt being lower at the end of the Parliament.’

Downing Street refused to commit itself to Mr Javid’s spending rules, fuelling speculation that they will be relaxed at the Budget.

The PM’s spokesman said: ‘We will continue to have a clear fiscal framework. The detail is for the Chancellor to set out at the Budget.’ 

Following Mr Javid’s statement, Mr Johnson thanked him for his ‘immense service’, saying he had ‘friends and admirers on all sides’ of the Commons.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk