Dominic Cummings’ ‘all-out attack bid to get Rishi Sunak into Downing Street’

Dominic Cummings: Kuenssberg warns about public evidence

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Former Government adviser Dominic Cummings is embroiled in a row with the Prime Minister as damaging accusations about Boris Johnson emerge. Mr Johnson was accused this week of saying he would rather allow “bodies [to] pile high in their thousands” than impose another national lockdown. It was reported that the Prime Minister made the remark after he ordered the second lockdown at the end of October. Downing Street has strongly denied that Mr Johnson made the comment and said it was “just another lie”, but the Daily Mail said the sources who allege he made the comment back their claim.

The source said Mr Johnson lost his temper and “raged” after agreeing to new restrictions following a meeting in No 10, allegedly adding: “No more f***ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands.”

The claims are the latest in an apparent briefing war between Mr Cummings and the Prime Minister after their relationship “fell off a cliff” when working together.

The former Vote Leave chief was also said to have wanted Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Number 10, launching an “all-out attack” as he sought to get him there.

Allies of Mr Johnson feared that his adviser was launching a ‘guerilla operation’ to see a change of face at the top of Government.

An ally of Mr Cummings told the Mail in November: “You can smell it. It’s the end of days. It’s a story as old as time. The Mad Queen destroys the court.”

A senior Tory MP added: “Rishi can’t afford to be a long-term chancellor. He can’t go to the Foreign Office, he would just be forgotten.

“He is agitating like fury, Gove sees he’s got one last throw of the dice… Johnson will either go because the party will get spooked or he will do a Harold Wilson and announce he is stepping down.”

Mr Cummings left Government in November after losing a power struggle with Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds, reports suggested.

It was reported that Mr Johnson was unhappy with the characterisation of his partner in the media, and was “particularly riled by newspaper reports of Symonds being referred to by nicknames including ‘Princess Nut Nuts’ by Cummings loyalists”.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said Mr Cummings’ “relationship with the Prime Minister fell off a cliff”.

As for Mr Sunak, further suggestions of a strong relationship between the Chancellor and the Government adviser emerged in October.

At the time, Mr Sunak put out a picture of himself at Number 10 surrounded by portraits of past prime ministers.

It sparked speculation and “banter” among backbench MPs, according to The Telegraph, who reported that some saw it at Mr Sunak being lined up as the next Prime Minister.

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One source in Government told the newspaper: “People at Number 10 were taken aback. The first quite a few people heard about it was when they saw it on Sky News. It wasn’t on the grid.”

A second source corroborated the story, saying: “Very senior people were aware, but there were others who had no idea and seemed angry they hadn’t been given advance notice. Something very weird went on that day.”

It was also reported that Mr Cummings, still working in Government at the time, was “cosying up” to Mr Sunak.

Another source added: “There’s lots of whispers about Dom manoeuvring. He won’t ever put all his eggs in one basket.”

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