Ousted pair Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain could return to Downing Street, insiders claim


Ousted pair Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain could return to Downing Street and work on the Conservative’s 2024 election campaign, insiders claim.

The Prime Minister is thought to have left the door open for Mr Cain’s return while speaking to the communication chief’s colleagues following his dramatic departure on Friday. 

The Tory leader is also believed to have said he and Mr Cain would remain ‘good friends’ before the aide walked out of Downing Street.

Though Mr Cummings’s departure was said to be a much more low-key occasion, Mr Johnson is also said to have left the door open for his return in the future.

Privately, he is said to have spoken about ‘getting the band back together’ ahead of the next election, according to both the Times and the Telegraph.

One source reportedly said: ‘The PM said he hoped one day the band could get back together at a suitable point.

The Prime Minister is thought to have left the door open for Mr Cain's (pictured) return while speaking to the communication chief's colleagues following his dramatic departure on Friday.

Ousted pair Dominic Cummings (pictured left) and Lee Cain could return to Downing Street and work on the Conservative’s 2024 election campaign, insiders claim. The Prime Minister is thought to have left the door open for Mr Cain’s (pictured right) return while speaking to the communication chief’s colleagues following his dramatic departure on Friday

The Conservative leader also reportedly said he and Mr Cain would remain 'good friends' before the aide walked out of Downing Street

The Conservative leader also reportedly said he and Mr Cain would remain ‘good friends’ before the aide walked out of Downing Street

Piers Morgan reveals 201-day government ‘boycott’ of Good Morning Britain will end tomorrow with Matt Hancock scheduled to appear on ITV show 

A Government ‘boycott’ of ITV’s Good Morning Britain will end on Monday, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock due to appear on the programme.

Mr Hancock’s scheduled appearance on Monday will be the first by a member of the Government since April.

Presenter Piers Morgan said in a tweet: ‘BREAKING: Just had a call from Downing Street. The 201-day Government boycott of @GMB is over & Health Secretary @MattHancock will be appearing on the show tomorrow morning.’

Morgan, 55, had previously accused the Government of ‘cowardice’ for not fielding members of the Cabinet for questioning by him and co-host Susanna Reid, 49.

The announcement follows the departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain from Downing Street this week.

‘So maybe they will end up working on the 2024 election campaign, who knows.’ 

Ousted Mr Cain, who reportedly quit after Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds intervened in his promotion to chief of staff, is also said not to hold any animosity to Mr Johnson, according to the Telegraph.

However the paper says Mr Cummings’ plans are less clear. The top aide is set to continue working with the Government until mid-December.

It comes as the civil war in Downing Street took another dramatic turn last night as a flurry of astonishing new claims emerged.

Among them was the suggestion that Boris Johnson appointed his new press secretary – former BBC and ITV journalist Allegra Stratton – to appease fiancee Carrie Symonds and prevent her from ‘going f****** crackers’.

The shocking allegations came after a weekend in which Downing Street’s dirty laundry was aired for all to see, with the infighting that led to the departure of the pair laid bare.

The influential aides both left No 10 on Friday, seemingly having lost a power struggle with Miss Symonds and her allies.

The war of words, played out in claim and counter-claim, has cast a shadow over Mr Johnson’s leadership at a time when the country should be focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Downing Street has been braced for a series of ‘revenge’ stories since Mr Cummings and Mr Cain left, given their inside knowledge of the corridors of power.

Friends of Miss Symonds hailed her for ending the ‘macho culture’ within No 10, denied claims that Mr Johnson was ‘running government by girlfriend’ and accused detractors of ‘rank misogyny’.

She has been dragged into infighting as part of a smear campaign, angry allies said. But last night insiders showed no sign of letting the bitter row drop with a number of breathtaking new claims.

Most extraordinary of all was the allegation that, as mistrust circled among those closest to the PM, discussions were even held in which one official suggested that top secret information should be kept from Mr Johnson’s red box – the Government briefcases used by all ministers. 

The influential aides both left No 10 on Friday, seemingly having lost a power struggle with Miss Symonds and her allies

The influential aides both left No 10 on Friday, seemingly having lost a power struggle with Miss Symonds and her allies

Among the slew of allegations was the suggestion that Boris Johnson appointed his new TV spokesman  to appease fiancee Carrie Symonds (pictured together outside No. 10)

Among the slew of allegations was the suggestion that Boris Johnson appointed his new TV spokesman  to appease fiancee Carrie Symonds (pictured together outside No. 10)

Boris Johnson plans to ‘reset’ his troubled premiership by promising northern Tory MPs he will not abandon them 

Boris Johnson will aim to reset his premiership today with a pledge to northern Tory MPs that he will not abandon them in favour of a more metropolitan agenda.

The Prime Minister will tell Tory MPs who helped propel him to victory in last year’s election that he will ‘never veer off the course’ that won him an 80-strong majority.

Mr Johnson will use the next fortnight to relaunch his leadership following the departure of Dominic Cummings and communications chief Lee Cain and amid worries he is being pushed into a ‘woke’ agenda by his fiancée Carrie Symonds, who seems to have won the Downing Street power struggle.

This afternoon he will meet the newly formed Northern Research Group (NRG), before unveiling his ten-point point plan to tackle climate change later in the week, and then finalising details of the Spending Review that will be announced by the Chancellor next Wednesday.

Allies of the Prime Minister last night said he would assure the northern MPs that levelling up the country is his ‘personal’ ambition and they will not be abandoned.

The group of more than 50 MPs last month wrote to Mr Johnson to demand that he does ‘not forget’ the commitments made at the last election when he won a swathe of so-called ‘red wall’ seats from Labour.

One of the ringleaders last night said there was concern within the group that the change in personnel in Downing Street will lead to the Prime Minister ‘forgetting the North and following a more metropolitan agenda’.

‘Northern working-class people are hard to win over and that we have to deliver for them,’ they added. ‘We want levelling up to be put on the Government’s agenda and not side-lined.’

The notion was reportedly floated in response to concern that some ‘non-sensitive’ issues in his red box had been mysteriously leaked. There is no suggestion that Miss Symonds was involved.

Downing Street also last night angrily rebuffed the claim, saying it was ‘categorically untrue’. Miss Symonds did not respond to a request for a comment.

Insiders said the acrimony between Miss Symonds and Mr Cummings and Mr Cain was obvious as far back as March.

It was then that she allegedly tried to stop the Prime Minister hosting a Covid crisis meeting to deal instead with a newspaper report claiming she wanted to get rid of their beloved Jack Russell cross Dilyn.

Mr Cummings ‘forced’ Mr Johnson to overrule his fiancee, it was claimed. He told No 10 officials to block any phone calls from Miss Symonds to the Prime Minister about the dog, it was claimed. 

And he gave orders for Miss Symonds’ official protest about the news report about Dilyn to be ‘burned’.

Miss Symonds was said to be livid at a report in The Times which claimed that she no longer liked the animal.

She went on Twitter to denounce it, saying: ‘Total load of c***. There has never been a happier, healthier and more loved dog than Dilyn.’ 

The dispute with Mr Cummings and Mr Cain flared when Miss Symonds apparently asked Mr Cain to make a formal complaint to The Times via the press watchdog, IPSO. 

He refused to do so, pointing out that a Covid crisis meeting was about to take place in No 10 that day. Miss Symonds is understood to have contacted officials in Mr Johnson’s office and told them to scrap the coronavirus meeting because she wanted the Prime Minister to help her pursue her complaint with The Times.

When Mr Cummings found out, sources said, he stormed in to Mr Johnson’s office and told him to go ahead with the meeting – which took place as planned.

An insider claimed: ‘We were dealing with the extraordinary chaos of Covid, and Carrie f***** the (PM’s Downing Street) private office up for a whole day. All over something trivial about her dog.

‘She went bananas and spent the day on the phone to officials and the PM trying to force the Government machine to IPSO (send a formal complaint to the watchdog) The Times over it.’

This weekend the departure of Mr Cummings and Mr Cain was welcomed by many Tory MPs who believed volatile Mr Cummings had become too powerful.

The former BBC and ITV journalist Allegra Stratton is pictured departing Downing Street

The former BBC and ITV journalist Allegra Stratton is pictured departing Downing Street

Friends of Miss Symonds (pictured with her dog Dilyn) hailed her for ending the 'macho culture' within No 10

Friends of Miss Symonds (pictured with her dog Dilyn) hailed her for ending the ‘macho culture’ within No 10

Mr Johnson was furious at claims that Miss Symonds’ Tory foes have dubbed his fiancee and mother of his son ‘Princess Nut Nut’.

But many senior Conservatives have voiced concern at the apparent level of influence Miss Symonds has over Mr Johnson both politically and personally.

Miss Symonds, former head of Tory communications, has strong views on issues from the environment to early parole for rapists.

A close ally of Miss Symonds said: ‘Surely it is in the Prime Minister’s interest that he hears from a range of people.

‘What man wouldn’t ask their informed partner for their opinion on something to do with work?’ But a No 10 figure claimed Miss Symonds ‘bombards [Mr Johnson] with texts and everyone in Downing Street knows about their rows.

Dominic Cummings leaves No 10

Communications chief Lee Cain

The shocking allegations came after the departure of Dominic Cummings (left) and communications chief Lee Cain (right)

‘I used to get angry with him for letting her get away with it, but now I just feel sorry. He looks very unhappy. It is as though she has taken him hostage. It cannot go on because it is terrible for our country.’

The appointment of Allegra Stratton as Mr Johnson’s official No 10 TV spokesman was a key factor in the turmoil that has engulfed the top of Government.

Insiders say that the Whitehall interview panel in charge of the appointment recommended another candidate.

However, Mr Johnson allegedly said: ‘Forget the process. I am giving the job to Allegra. I’ve got to do this because if I don’t, Carrie will go f****** crackers about it.’

An official said: ‘Allegra didn’t even know about Carrie’s intervention. But it could rebound on him (Johnson). The Whitehall paper trail will show the truth; that he went totally against the official recommendation of the interview panel – and he will have to explain why.’

Tory critics of Miss Symonds claim her allies are now gunning for Chancellor Rishi Sunak because he ‘does not let outsiders interfere’ in the Treasury.

They say she has urged Mr Johnson to recall Mr Sunak’s predecessor Sajid Javid. Miss Symonds is a former aide to Mr Javid, and the two have remained close allies.

A source said: ‘Rishi won’t put up with outside interference and insists things are done by the book. She wants Javid back as a counter to Rishi.

‘Tory MPs are celebrating Cummings’ and Cain’s downfall but they may think again when they see how this has been manipulated by Carrie who has an agenda no one voted for.’

Mr Cummings told the Mail last night: ‘I’ve nothing bad to say about Carrie, I wish her well.’       

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