Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings quits

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London: Dominic Cummings has quit as Boris Johnson's most powerful aide and will leave by the end of the year, a person familiar with the matter said.

The news will plunge the British Prime Minister's leadership into crisis at a critical time for the UK as it navigates the closing stages of Brexit. Cummings earlier told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that his position "hasn't changed" since he wrote in January that he wanted to be "largely redundant" within a year.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson’ senior aide, Dominic Cummings, leaves his house in London on Thursday.Credit:AP

He is the second key adviser to Johnson to go in two days, after tensions blew up over the way the Johnson’s inner circle operates. Late on Wednesday, London time, Communications Director Lee Cain announced he was standing down.

Cummings has been at the Prime Minister's side since he took power in July 2019, and was the mastermind of the successful Brexit referendum campaign that catapulted Johnson into the front rank of British politics three years earlier. His departure would deprive the leader of his most important adviser and strategist, who has wielded huge influence over all aspects of government policy, from its pandemic response to Brexit and economic reform.

Cummings and Cain have been accused of presiding over a "laddish" culture in Downing Street, prompting complaints from female advisers that they were picked on in meetings.

The concerns prompted Carrie Symonds, Johnson's fiancee, to lead a revolt against the Prime Minister's plan to promote Cain to chief of staff at Number 10.

Former Boris Johnson communications director Lee Cain.Credit:Getty Images

"Women were treated differently to men," a source told the London Telegraph.

"Women were always reprimanded more and women were always accused of leaking more than men. As a woman, you knew you weren't part of the 'lads club' in which many of the people in Number 10 were."

"In meetings women would be picked on in the spad [special advisers] meetings by Dominic and Lee to answer questions they couldn't answer, especially very young women. These were microaggressions."

A No 10 spokesman said: "These are malicious allegations which are totally untrue."

More to come

Bloomberg; The Telegraph, London

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