Friday 13 November 2020 5:33 pm

Cummings to leave Downing Street with immediate effect

Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings is leaving Downing Street immediately.

Cummings will continue to work until mid-December, and another senior aide will serve as temporary chief of staff, Johnson’s office said on Friday.

“The Prime Minister has today asked Sir Edward Lister to take on the role of chief of staff for an interim period pending a permanent appointment to the post,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Cummings is not expected to return to the office again because Mr Johnson wants to “clear the air and move things forward”.

Cummings is the second top Downing St aide to leave in the space of a week.

Director of communications Lee Cain left earlier in the week following reported tensions growing inside Number 10. Both Cain and Cummings were close confidants of the PM and architects of the Vote Leave campaign.

The chief adviser was a well-known and divisive figure inside government. He is credited with the “take back control” slogan that became a touchstone in the campaign to leave the European Union.

More recently Cummings found himself in hot water after taking a trip to County Durham during the UK’s first lockdown. The adviser infamously left his north London home when his family were unwell with coronavirus, and later drove his car to Barnard Castle to test if he was ok to drive.

The Barnard Castle news was met with uproar from the general public. In response, Cummings held a press conference at Westminster in which he denied any wrongdoing. Such a move is unprecedented for an adviser, who typically are seen, but not heard, in Westminster.