UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has left Number 10 with immediate effect.
Cummings spoke to the PM on Friday, and it was decided it was best for him to go now rather than next month as planned, after days of turmoil in No 10, according to UK media reports.
Cummings had been at the centre of a power struggle in Downing Street this week. One source said he was told to go by the prime minister after accusations he had briefed against Johnson on Friday.
On Thursday, Downing Street said Cummings would be leaving by Christmas after a row over how No 10 is run and the appointment of a new chief of staff to Johnson.
The PM’s director of communications Lee Cain has also left.
He had been offered the post of chief of staff but it sparked a backlash among MPs, ministers and others close to the prime minister, including his fiancee, Carrie Symonds. On Friday night No 10 said that Sir Edward Lister, the PM’s chief strategic adviser, would take on the role on an interim basis.
Cain, alongside Cummings, was one of a few in Downing Street who helped drive the prime minister’s Brexit agenda, a cheerleader for Johnson’s hardline stance to “get Brexit done” and “take back control” to restore sovereignty to Britain.
Cain’s departure suggested tension at the heart of government as the UK prepares to complete its Brexit journey out of the European Union.
Amid speculation over his departure, Cummings was pictured on Friday carrying a cardboard box while leaving from the front door at 10 Downing Street.
He has been a divisive figure inside the Conservative government since Johnson became prime minister 16 months ago.