, Tory MPs fear ‘mutual destruction’ as ‘No10 blames leaks on Cummings’, The Nzuchi Times

Tory MPs fear ‘mutual destruction’ as ‘No10 blames leaks on Cummings’

Dominic Cummings’ extraordinary blog attacking Boris Johnson and No 10  

On new Number 10  Director of Communications: 

‘The Prime Minister’s new Director of Communications Jack Doyle, at the PM’s request, has made a number of false accusations to the media’

On Dyson texts leak:

‘I have not found the ones [texts] that were leaked to Laura Kuenssberg on my phone nor am I aware of being sent them last year. I was not directly or indirectly a/the source for the BBC/Kuenssberg story on the PM/Dyson texts. ‘

On letting No 10 search his phone:

‘I am happy to meet with the Cabinet Secretary and for him to search my phone for Dyson messages.’

On the ‘chatty rat’ leak: 

‘The Cabinet Secretary told the PM that the leak was neither me nor the then Director of Communications and that ‘all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman’

On Henry Newman and Carrie:

‘The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards ‘If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?’ ‘

On Number 10 flat renovations:

‘The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended. ‘

 On a Covid inquiry:

‘The proper way for such issues to be handled is via an urgent Parliamentary inquiry into the government’s conduct over the covid crisis which ought to take evidence from all key players under oath and have access to documents. ‘

On Boris Johnson: 

‘It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.’

On his testimony to an inquiry:

‘I will cooperate fully with any such inquiry and am happy to give evidence under oath. I am happy for No10 to publish every email I received and sent July 2019-November 2020 (with no exceptions other than, obviously, some national security / intelligence issues).’ 

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Boris Johnson’s former right-hand man Dominic Cummings broke cover today to launch an astonishing attack on the Prime Minister and his top team as a simmering row over leaks of private messages broke out into open political warfare.

Mr Cummings, who was ousted in a power struggle in December, accused the Prime Minister and his team of falling ‘so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves’.

The Vote Leave mastermind denied being the ‘chatty rat’ who leaked details about the second lockdown last November or being behind leaks of the PM’s messages with entrepreneur James Dyson to the media this week.

In an astonishing attack on the Prime Minister he accused him of considering killing off a probe into the November leak because the evidence pointed at Henry Newman, a friend of his fiancee Carrie Symonds. 

Mr Newman, a former aide to Michael Gove and Vote Leave campaigner who was brought into the new-look No10 team earlier this year, was has denied being the source of the leak.

Perhaps most dangerously for the Prime Minister, Mr Cummings also waded into the row over how the massive cost of renovating the PM’s Downing Street flat was paid for.

Electoral Commission continues to quiz Conservative chiefs over the flat refit row, which has been dubbed ‘Wallpaper-gate’, involving cash from donors and Conservative Party coffers. 

Mr Cummings said he told Mr Johnson that having it secretly paid for by political donors was ‘unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations.’ 

And Mr Cummings accused new Downing Street Director of Communications Jack Doyle of making ‘a number of false accusations’ to the media this week. It came after several papers were today told by an anonymous source in Downing Street that they believed Mr Cummings was responsible for messages between the PM and James Dyson over tax breaks for workers being handed to the BBC.

Mr Johnson also appeared to renege on a pledge to release his own messaged to Mr Dyson this evening, when Downing Street instead released a statement outlining their communications over ventilators for the NHS.  

Mr Cummings’ 1,100-word response to the rumours circulating Westminster are likely to prove a huge blow to the Prime Minister, who is fire-fighting allegations that his administration was too open to lobbyists. 

And adding to the PM’s concerns will be his willingness to co-operate with the many investigations centred on activity in Downing Street over the past year.  

Writing on his blog today, Mr Cummings said: ‘I do have some WhatsApp messages between the PM/Dyson forwarded to me by the PM. 

‘I have not found the ones that were leaked to Laura Kuenssberg on my phone nor am I aware of being sent them last year. I was not directly or indirectly a/the source for the BBC/Kuenssberg story on the PM/Dyson texts. 

‘Yesterday some No10 officials told me that No10 would make this accusation and told me what they believe actually happened — that Dyson’s office emailed a number of officials, including HMT officials, and included screenshots of the PM/Dyson texts, and that this correspondence, from roughly a year ago, was passed to the BBC. I do not know if this is correct. 

‘Officials told me yesterday that I was not copied in on this correspondence and I do not remember it (I no longer have access to my official email so cannot check this)..

He added that he would be happy for a probe into the leak to have access to his mobile phone, adding: ‘If the PM did send them to me, as he is claiming, then he will be able to show the Cabinet Secretary on his own phone when they were sent to me. 

‘It will therefore be easy to establish at least if I was ever sent these messages. I am also happy to publish or give to the Cabinet Secretary the PM/Dyson messages that I do have, which concerned ventilators, bureaucracy and covid policy — not tax issues.’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to say why No 10 insiders suspected Dominic Cummings is behind leaks of his correspondence.

During a campaign visit to Hartlepool, Mr Johnson told broadcasters: ‘I think people aren’t so much interested in who is leaking what to whom as the substance of the issue at hand. The issue is really the question of the ventilators as you will remember James Dyson was offering to make. Let’s be absolutely clear I think it was right to talk to him.’  

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

Boris Johnson feeds a lamb in Derbyshire. Tory MPs fear he and Dominic Cummings could be headed for ‘mutually assured destruction’ after Number 10 sources accused the PM’s former chief aide of leaking private text messages.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

 Mr Cummings, who was ousted in a power struggle in December (left), accused Downing Street Director of Communications Jack Doyle (right) of making ‘a number of false accusations’ to the media overnight.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

In an astonishing attack on the Prime Minister Mr Cummings accused him of considering killing off a leak inquiry last November because the evidence pointed at Henry Newman (centre), a friend of his fiancee Carrie Symonds (right). Mr Newman has denied being the source of the leak.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

Row over Carrie’s role at No 10 is set to blow up AGAIN after Dominic’s broadside 

Dominic Cummings’ very pointed comments about the influence of Carrie Symonds and her friends within Downing Street will fuel more questions about her role in Government. 

The role played by the Conservative Party’s former director of communications has led to claims of a ‘No10 psychodrama’ being played out by her supporters and opponents.

She won a power battle with Mr Cummings last year which saw him march out of the front of No10 in December, over messages in which he referred to her as ‘Princess Nut Nuts’.

Since the departure of Mr Johnson’s chief aide and his  close supporter Lee Cain, Ms Symonds has seen one of her friends join No10 as an adviser. 

Henry Newman is a former adviser to Michael Gove and was accused by factions within the Vote Leave movement of being the Chatty Rat, with allegations that he partially wiped his phone after the inquiry began – claims he denies. 

Earlier this year he became a senior advisor in No10, leading to fears that Ms Symonds’s friends were muscling into the PM’s inner circle.

Mr Cummings’ remarks today about the PM considering scrapping a leak inquiry to avoid upsetting his fiancee will add more fuel to this fire. 

Last month it was claimed civil servants were ‘collateral damage’ in a Downing Street briefing war over Ms Symnonds. 

A senior Whitehall source claimed to The Times that reports of Ms Symonds, Boris Johnson’s fiancee, clashing with civil servants had been overblown.

The source suggested that senior Whitehall figures were effectively being used as pawns in an internal power struggle.

 There have been reports of Ms Symonds clashing with some senior female civil servants.

Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, and Helen MacNamara, former property and ethics chief at the Cabinet Office, have both been mentioned in anonymous briefings.

Allies of Ms Symonds have pointed the finger at allies of Mr Cummings for the negative briefings.

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And in an astonishing revelation about the inner-workings of Number 10, he said the probe into the November lockdown leak pointed the finger at Mr Newman.

‘Last year there was a meeting between the PM, Cabinet Secretary, the Director of Communications and me regarding the leak of the decision for a further lockdown on the Friday evening immediately after the meeting in the Cabinet Room that made the decision (known in the media as ‘the chatty rat story’),’ Mr Cummings wrote.

‘The Cabinet Secretary told the PM that the leak was neither me nor the then Director of Communications (Lee Cain) and that ”all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman and others in that office, I’m just trying to get the communications data to prove it”. 

‘The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards, ”If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?”

‘I told him that this was ”mad” and totally unethical, that he had ordered the inquiry himself and authorised the Cabinet Secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak.

‘I told him that he could not possibly cancel an inquiry about a leak that affected millions of people, just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends.’

His openness about the Downing Street flat is also certain to have political consequences.

This week the Mail revealed leaked emails from Conservative donor Lord Brownlow to Tory Party co-chairman Ben Elliot. 

The emails showed that Lord Brownlow told Mr Elliot last October that he had paid £58,000 to Tory HQ to cover the same amount spent by the party months earlier on the flat refit.

The £58,000 was to be attributed as having come not from Lord Brownlow or the Tory Party but from a ‘soon to be formed Downing St Trust’ that had not yet been formed – and still does not exist, officially.

Well-placed sources said it was proof of an attempt to cover up the way party funds were secretly used to help pay for the refurbishment of Mr Johnson and his fiancee Carrie Symonds’ Number 11 Downing Street official flat. The makeover, which included expensive wallpaper, by interior designer Lulu Lytle reportedly cost a six-figure sum.

Writing today Mr Cummings said: ‘The Prime Minister’s DOC (director of communications) has also made accusations regarding me and leaks concerning the PM’s renovation of his flat.

‘The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended. 

‘I refused to help him organise these payments.’

Is Dominic Cummings REALLY the ‘chatty rat’ mole? Finger has previously been pointed at Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and a stream of government advisers 

Downing Street has been hunting for the identity of the so-called ‘chatty rat’ who has been leaking sensitive material from the heart of Government for six months.

Dominic Cummings is not the only name in the frame for the source of damning information that raises serious questions about the conduct of the prime minister and his top team. 

He was first bounced into announcing November’s four-week lockdown early after the plans emerged in the press.

The ‘rat’ told Saturday morning’s newspapers that a previous day’s meeting of the all-powerful Covid Quad committee had decided to introduce a second national lockdown within days: anti-lockdown hawks in the Government claim that Mr Johnson had intended to spend the weekend studying the most recent and accurate data – and discussing it with the rest of the Cabinet – before deciding whether to extend his regional system of tiered restrictions instead. 

It came amid a spike in Covid cases last October that prompted calls for a ‘circuit-break’ shutdown.

Mr Cummings was still in post as Boris Johnson’s chief aide at the time, and suspicion also fell on other arms of the Government machine.

Matt Hancock 

At the time, anti-lockdown hawks believed that pro-lockdown ‘doves’ leaked details of a so-called ‘quad’ meeting of Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Gove and Hancock the previous day to stop the Prime Minister from watering down the shutdown plans. 

Mr Johnson sent security experts to the homes of Cabinet ministers including Mr Hancock to examine their personal mobile phones as part of a major leak inquiry.

The Health Secretary has frequently drawn the ire of hawks during the past year, emerging as a key advocate within Government of lengthy lockdowns designed to save lives.

Sources say he has clashed with Sunak and other hawks who would have rather kept the economy open to avoid economic stress. 

Mr Hancock has categorically denied any involvement in the leak. 

Michael Gove 

Investigators into the lockdown leak called at Mr Gove’s West London home and demanded to see his mobile phone, before examining his calls, text messages and WhatsApp conversations.

It came as a furious Mr Johnson ordered Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to set up the probe.

Mr Gove and his advisers were happy to hand over their phones because they had ‘nothing to hide’. 

Despite repeated requests over the past six months, the results of the probe into the ‘chatty rat’ have never never been revealed. 

Henry Newman

Mr Newman is a former adviser to Mr Gove and a close friend of the Prime Minister’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds.

He was accused by factions within the Vote Leave movement of being the Chatty Rat, with allegations that he partially wiped his phone after the inquiry began.

The claims later turned out to be false and Mr Newman denies being the leaker. 

Mr Newman has been both Mr Gove’s right-hand man and a close friend of Ms Symonds for years. 

Earlier this year he became a senior advisor in No10, leading to fears that allies of Mr Gove and Ms Symonds were muscling into the PM’s inner circle.

The Civil Service

Suspicion has also been levelled at senior civil servants, with some accused of leaking details of the lobbying scandal to destabilise the Tories and help Labour.

They are also suspected of using leaks to try to ‘sabotage’ the Brexit withdrawal negotiations last year, and to provide advance notice to the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer about Government policies in the pipeline – giving him time to structure his responses.

Tory spy-hunters believe a ‘cell’ of Labour supporters, centred on the Cabinet Office, was activated last year after Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former senior adviser in No 10, declared that a ‘hard rain’ was coming for the Civil Service as part of planned reforms to break up Whitehall’s grip on the establishment.

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Former Conservative Party leader Lord Hague said Dominic Cummings’ latest comments on Boris Johnson, if true, ‘would be damaging to anybody, including a prime minister.’ 

‘I think, of course, whenever anybody reads something like this, you do have to bear in mind this is somebody evidently very angry about being accused, in this morning’s newspapers of being the source of leaks, so he’s replying to that there’s the retaliation against that so it seems, and clearly trying to do as much damage to the Prime Minister as possible, really, reading and listening to what’s in this statement,’ he told Times Radio.

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves, said: ‘The government seem determined to continue with their cover-up around the Number 10 refurb. 

‘The new claims of the Prime Minister’s former Chief Advisor raise serious concerns at the conduct of the Prime Minister and government over this matter. This is the tip of the iceberg of Tory sleaze.’ 

Mr Cummings’s allies had earlier appeared to be hitting back at Number 10 after Downing Street sources accused him of leaking the Prime Minister’s private correspondence. 

Friends of the PM’s former top adviser told The Telegraph that he would wage a ‘war of attrition’ against Number 10 and compared him to the Viet Cong fighting against the Americans, adding ‘the rebel always wins’.    

Tory MPs fear Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings could be headed for ‘mutually assured destruction’ after Downing Street sources last night accused the latter of leaking private text messages including messages to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Sir James Dyson.   

Allies of Mr Cummings told The Telegraph: ‘Dom doesn’t care about all this stuff… it’s like the Americans going into Vietnam – they may be able to drop big bombs but in a war of attrition, the rebel always wins.’ 

An internal inquiry has been launched into how messages between the Prime Minister and Sir James were leaked to journalists.

But Downing Street figures are pointing the finger at Mr Cummings, who quit as the PM’s senior adviser last year following a behind the scenes power struggle.

The Times, The Telegraph and The Sun all reported comments from an insider naming Mr Cummings. Allies of Mr Cummings have denied he is behind the leak.

The briefing has sparked concern among Tory MPs who believe the situation has the potential to escalate. 

They said the briefing against Mr Cummings ‘looks like Number 10’s revenge’ after the Vote Leave maverick’s bombshell appearance in front of MPs last month when he claimed the Department of Health was a ‘smoking ruin’ at the start of the pandemic. 

One senior Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘It is a bit like Kennedy’s response to Russian missiles in Cuba, it is not necessarily mutually assured destruction but that could happen.

‘Having said that, quite clearly, Boris has got a lot more to lose than Cummings has and that is the worry.’ 

Another Conservative MP warned of the potential for the situation to turn into a ‘bunch of school children’ feuding.   

The Prime Minister’s Deputy Official Spokesman would not be drawn on the claims at lunchtime as he was grilled by reporters. 

He said: ‘We have instructed the Cabinet Office to look into the Dyson leak… obviously I am not going to comment on speculation and of course it is for the Cabinet Office to take that work forward. I am not going to pre-empt it.’ 

The accusations against Mr Cummings follow persistent rumours of animosity between him and the PM’s partner Carrie Symonds.

Mr Cummings left Number 10 in November after alleged sustained infighting with her allies, and his Vote Leave ally Lee Cain was ousted days earlier following similar reports of disagreements.

Number 10’s plan for daily press conferences fronted by Allegra Stratton were also finally axed this week, months after she was hired to present the briefings that were seen as Mr Cain’s and Mr Cumming’s brainchild.        

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

The bombshell accusations made against Mr Cummings emerged in three different newspapers at the same time late last night.  

A Number 10 source told The Times: ‘Dominic is engaged in systematic leaking. We are disappointed about that. We are concerned about messages from private WhatsApp groups which had very limited circulation.

‘The prime minister is saddened about what Dom is doing. It’s undermining the government and the party. It might be that Dominic feels bitter about what’s happened since he left but it’s a great shame. Dyson was trying to do something for the good of the country.’ 

The leak of the texts to Sir James, in which Mr Johnson promised the entrepreneur he would ‘fix’ a tax issue for Dyson staff working to develop ventilators at the height of the coronavirus crisis last year, was not the first time the PM’s messages have been made public. 

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

The Prime Minister’s Deputy Official Spokesman would not be drawn on the claims at lunchtime as he was grilled by reporters.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

The accusations against Mr Cummings follow persistent rumours of animosity between him and the PM’s partner Carrie Symonds.

Who is Henry Newman? 

Mr Newman is a former adviser to Mr Gove and a close friend of the Prime Minister’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds.

In the past the PM’s fiancee has tagged him in a group photograph of Tory canvassers on Twitter as one of ‘four of my favourite people’. 

He was in Mr Gove’s team when he famously betrayed Mr Johnson in the 2016 Tory leadership contest.

However, he is reportedly often invited to the Downing Street flat by Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds, unlike Mr Gove.

Earlier this year he became a senior advisor in No10, leading to fears that allies of Mr Gove and Ms Symonds were muscling into the PM’s inner circle.

In 2019, Mr Newman wrote of his admiration for Cummings, saying he was ‘one of only a few political advisers who understands the importance of, and is truly committed to, reforming the Whitehall machine’.

Lord Frost, the negotiator behind Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, threatened to resign over the new appointment  over concerns his role as Brexit adviser was being marginalised.  

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Mr Johnson was sent a text message by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a bid to buy Newcastle United ran into difficulties last June.

A Number 10 source told The Sun that Mr Johnson ‘fears Dom was responsible for the text message leaks about James Dyson and Mohammed bin Salman’.

The Telegraph said it is understood Mr Cummings would have had legitimate access to the messages while he worked at Number 10.

‘If you join the dots it looks like it’s coming from Dom,’ a source told the newspaper.

A Whitehall source also claimed to The Telegraph that Mr Cummings may have been responsible for the ‘chatty rat’ leak last year of the PM’s planned November lockdown. 

The source said: ‘There is a widespread belief in Whitehall that Dom Cummings may have been responsible for leaking the details from the proposed lockdown.’   

His allies categorically denied that he was behind the leaks and said he had not seen the texts. 

Mr Cummings has never been named by journalists as the source of any of the leak-related stories.

Tory MPs fear the accusations made against Mr Cummings could spiral into a damaging back and forth briefing war which could result in ‘mutually assured destruction’. 

One MP told MailOnline: ‘With Cummings, it is not in his nature to go quietly and I don’t think he is going quietly.

‘The fact that somebody has leaked out that it was supposedly Cummings, clearly it looks like Number 10’s revenge. The problem that they have got is that Cummings knows a lot more.’

They added: ‘It is a bit like Kennedy’s response to Russian missiles in Cuba, it is not necessarily mutually assured destruction but that could happen.

‘Having said that, quite clearly, Boris has got a lot more to lose than Cummings has and that is the worry.’

Another Tory MP said: ‘When you have a bunch of school children don’t they do this sort of thing?’

Row over Carrie’s role at No 10 is set to blow up AGAIN after Dominic’s broadside accusing her friend of being ‘chatty rat’ leaker

Dominic Cummings’ very pointed comments about the influence of Carrie Symonds and her friends within Downing Street will fuel more questions about her role in Government. 

The role played by the Conservative Party’s former director of communications has led to claims of a ‘No10 psychodrama’ being played out by her supporters and opponents.

She won a power battle with Mr Cummings last year which saw him march out of the front of No10 in December, over messages in which he allegedly referred to her as ‘Princess Nut Nut’.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

Carrie Symonds won a power battle with Mr Cummings last year which saw him march out of the front of No10 in December, over messages in which he allegedly referred to her as ‘Princess Nut Nut’.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

There had long been frustration that Ms Symonds was running a shadow PR operation, while she is said to have been incensed at the aggressive behaviour of Mr Cummings and his laddish cadre.

Since the departure of Mr Johnson’s chief aide and his  close supporter Lee Cain, Ms Symonds has seen one of her friends join No10 as an adviser. 

Henry Newman is a former adviser to Michael Gove and was accused by factions within the Vote Leave movement of being the Chatty Rat, with allegations that he partially wiped his phone after the inquiry began – claims he denies. 

Earlier this year he became a senior advisor in No10, leading to fears that Ms Symonds’s friends were muscling into the PM’s inner circle.  Mr Cummings’ remarks today about the PM considering scrapping a leak inquiry to avoid upsetting his fiancee will add more fuel to this fire.

Writing on his blog today Mr Cummings said that the Cabinet Secretary at the time, Mark Sedwill, had told him ‘all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman’.

‘The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards, ”If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?”

‘I told him that this was ”mad” and totally unethical, that he had ordered the inquiry himself and authorised the Cabinet Secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak. I told him that he could not possibly cancel an inquiry about a leak that affected millions of people, just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends.’

Last month it was claimed civil servants were ‘collateral damage’ in a Downing Street briefing war over Ms Symnonds. 

A senior Whitehall source claimed to The Times that reports of Ms Symonds, Boris Johnson’s fiancee, clashing with civil servants had been overblown.

The source suggested that senior Whitehall figures were effectively being used as pawns in an internal power struggle.

 There have been reports of Ms Symonds clashing with some senior female civil servants.

Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, and Helen MacNamara, former property and ethics chief at the Cabinet Office, have both been mentioned in anonymous briefings.

Allies of Ms Symonds have pointed the finger at allies of Mr Cummings for the negative briefings.

Mr Cummings, the former Vote Leave mastermind, worked closely with Mr Johnson on the Brexit campaign and was a major figure in Number 10 after the Prime Minister took office.

Mr Johnson stood by him after Mr Cummings found himself in the eye of a media storm after driving his family to County Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

But Mr Cummings was subsequently ousted from Downing Street after clashing with Ms Symonds.  
, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

The source suggested the Prime Minister was ‘saddened’ and Mr Cummings was ‘bitter’ after his exit from No 10. They are pictured together in 2019

Dominic Cummings’ damning blogpost in full:   

The Prime Minister’s new Director of Communications Jack Doyle, at the PM’s request, has made a number of false accusations to the media.

1. Re Dyson. I do have some WhatsApp messages between the PM/Dyson forwarded to me by the PM. I have not found the ones that were leaked to Laura Kuenssberg on my phone nor am I aware of being sent them last year. I was not directly or indirectly a/the source for the BBC/Kuenssberg story on the PM/Dyson texts. Yesterday some No10 officials told me that No10 would make this accusation and told me what they believe actually happened — that Dyson’s office emailed a number of officials, including HMT officials, and included screenshots of the PM/Dyson texts, and that this correspondence, from roughly a year ago, was passed to the BBC. I do not know if this is correct. Officials told me yesterday that I was not copied in on this correspondence and I do not remember it (I no longer have access to my official email so cannot check this).

I am happy to meet with the Cabinet Secretary and for him to search my phone for Dyson messages. If the PM did send them to me, as he is claiming, then he will be able to show the Cabinet Secretary on his own phone when they were sent to me. It will therefore be easy to establish at least if I was ever sent these messages. I am also happy to publish or give to the Cabinet Secretary the PM/Dyson messages that I do have, which concerned ventilators, bureaucracy and covid policy — not tax issues.

2. Re lockdown. Last year there was a meeting between the PM, Cabinet Secretary, the Director of Communications and me regarding the leak of the decision for a further lockdown on the Friday evening immediately after the meeting in the Cabinet Room that made the decision (known in the media as ‘the chatty rat story’). The Cabinet Secretary told the PM that the leak was neither me nor the then Director of Communications and that ‘all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman and others in that office, I’m just trying to get the communications data to prove it’. The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards, ‘If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?’

I told him that this was ‘mad’ and totally unethical, that he had ordered the inquiry himself and authorised the Cabinet Secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak. I told him that he could not possibly cancel an inquiry about a leak that affected millions of people, just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends. I refused to try to persuade the Cabinet Secretary to stop the inquiry and instead I encouraged the Cabinet Secretary to conduct the inquiry without any concern for political ramifications. I told the Cabinet Secretary that I would support him regardless of where the inquiry led. I warned some officials that the PM was thinking about cancelling the inquiry. They would give evidence to this effect under oath to any inquiry. I also have WhatsApp messages with very senior officials about this matter which are definitive.

Shortly afterwards the Cabinet Secretary authorised the PM’s then Official Spokesman to tell the media that his inquiry had shown that neither I nor the then Director of Communications were the ‘lockdown leakers’ and he confirmed to me in writing that he had so instructed the PM’s then Official Spokesman (who subsequently left). The PM himself also confirmed in writing that the leak inquiry had shown that neither I nor the then Director of Communications was the leaker, describing rumours to this effect as ‘total bullshit’.

The PM therefore knows that I was not the source of the leak and that the Cabinet Secretary authorised the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman to tell the media this, yet he has now authorised his DOC to make this accusation.

The Cabinet Secretary knows the above is true and obviously can see our messages regarding this on his own phone. He behaved with complete integrity during this difficult incident.

These events contributed to my decision to stick to my plan to leave No10 by 18 December, which I had communicated to the PM in July the day before my long-delayed operation.

3. Re the flat. The Prime Minister’s DOC has also made accusations regarding me and leaks concerning the PM’s renovation of his flat. The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended. I refused to help him organise these payments. My knowledge about them is therefore limited. I would be happy to tell the Cabinet Secretary or Electoral Commission what I know concerning this matter.

4. I have made the offer to hand over some private text messages, even though I am under no legal obligation to do so, because of the seriousness of the claims being made officially by No10 today, particularly the covid leak that caused serious harm to millions. This does not mean that I will answer every allegation made by No10.

The proper way for such issues to be handled is via an urgent Parliamentary inquiry into the government’s conduct over the covid crisis which ought to take evidence from all key players under oath and have access to documents. Issues concerning covid and/or the PM’s conduct should not be handled as No10 has handled them over the past 24 hours. I will cooperate fully with any such inquiry and am happy to give evidence under oath. I am happy for No10 to publish every email I received and sent July 2019-November 2020 (with no exceptions other than, obviously, some national security / intelligence issues).

It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.

I will not engage in media briefing regarding these issues but will answer questions about any of these issues to Parliament on 26 May for as long as the MPs want.

 

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DAN WOOTTON: Whoever is the Chatty Rat, Carrie and Cummings need to bury the hatchet and get behind Boris for the sake of the country 

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings once represented a near-perfect political allegiance.

The country owes them for securing the seismic Brexit victory and guaranteeing its delivery, following numerous pathetically meek failures by Theresa May.

United, it felt like nothing could topple them – the future of the UK was in exciting hands.

The rulebook was shredded. Anything could happen! What a ride…

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

Carrie Symonds (left, with Boris Johnson) and Dominic Cummings need to bury the hatchet, writes Dan Wootton 

Dom, the Westminster-destroying outsider who would take no prisoners in his mission to turn ‘the system’ – from the terrified BBC to the institutionalised civil service – upside down and inside out.

Boris, the affable public face, who could win support for his steely-eyed political partner’s revolutionary agenda.

Perhaps it was that power that so threatened Boris’ real-life partner Carrie Symonds, who hated Dom’s sheer force of personality and his ability to ruffle feathers and control her fiancé.

After all, as a former Tory spin doctor herself, why the heck did Boris need this ‘madman’ taking the reins?

Especially after the palaver of THAT trip Barnard Castle at the height of the pandemic where Boris expended what little political capital he had left at the time to save Dom’s job, at what felt like any cost.

But Dom and Boris divided, as they are now, is a political horror story. Toxic and immature, they seem to be trying to tear each other apart. It’s a battle that does neither side any good.

According to seemingly coordinated front page stories in The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun today, Boris has only one suspect about who is responsible for ‘systematic leaking’ about him: It’s Dom!

A No10 source told The Sun: ‘The Prime Minister thinks Dominic Cummings is responsible for a series of damaging leaks about his personal communications.

‘He is deeply disappointed and saddened by what he thinks his former adviser has been doing, and believes he is attempting to undermine the Government and the Conservative Party.’

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton 

Cummings totally denies being the so-called Chatty Rat, incidentally.

You would have hoped a global pandemic, never-ending lockdowns and an economic catastrophe would be enough to focus minds and stop this sort of carry on.

However, in politics, personal rivalries and bitterness trumps everything.

The leaks in questions have not in themselves caused Boris too much harm yet.

This week text messages between Sir James Dyson and the PM were released, showing Boris pledged Dyson would not be forced to pay extra taxes if they helped deliver ventilators at the height of the pandemic.

In one message, Boris wrote: ‘James, I am first lord of the Treasury and you take it that we are backing you to do what you need.’

Ironically, far from being damaging to Boris, it showed him as a highly engaged, hands-on PM prepared to do whatever it took to save British lives. That’s something to celebrate in my books.

And I don’t think the public see it as anything close to a scandal, despite Keir Starmer’s opportunistic attempts to whip up a storm.

So should Dominic Cummings, if the rumours are to be believed, be leaking? Obviously Number 10 Downing Street think not and have launched a formal investigation.

They wish Dom would celebrate the enduring popularity of Boris – the man he made PM – and the supreme success of the UK’s vaccine rollout, which owes its genesis to Brexit.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

Former ITV News star Allegra Stratton gave up her very promising gig running the image of Chancellor Rishi Sunak to launch White House-style daily briefings for Boris, at the personal request of the PM, only to be discarded without a second thought this week 

But Dom has reason to be furious, given his brutal departure from Government after falling out with Carrie, despite the fact he was central to delivering Boris his Brexit and red wall victories.

By all accounts, Dom was rude, difficult to deal with and disrespectful while in power. Cabinet ministers, MPs, advisers and long-time public servants despised him.

But that’s why I adored the bloke and think Boris should have done far more to keep him peeing inside the tent, rather than all over it from the outside as he is now accused of doing.

When Dom was running the Government, he brought out the best of Boris.

After years of unfulfilled promises, the Tories were finally going to crack down on the dominance of the outwardly left-wing BBC, for example. Without him, it’s back to business as usual – moderate thinking and a distinct lack of ambition.

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

, Tory MPs fear &#8216;mutual destruction&#8217; as &#8216;No10 blames leaks on Cummings&#8217;, The Nzuchi Times

This week text messages between Sir James Dyson and the PM were released, showing Boris pledged Dyson would not be forced to pay extra taxes if they helped deliver ventilators at the height of the pandemic

Boris also has to take some responsibility about the way he treats people.

Former ITV News star Allegra Stratton gave up her very promising gig running the image of Chancellor Rishi Sunak to launch White House-style daily briefings for Boris, at the personal request of the PM, only to be discarded without a second thought this week.

It’s politically unwise to treat staff aware of the good, the bad and the ugly inside Government in such a cavalier manner.

Should we care about any of this nonsense political infighting? The answer is obvious: Of course not.

The public is rightly concerned about what matters post-covid; jobs, education, health, housing and the future of the Union.

Navel-gazing by politicians and their advisers who should know better is not high on the agenda.

But, believe me, this story matters because it’s these sorts of long-running behind-the-scenes bitch-fights that consume huge attention of the people who are entrusted with making some of the biggest political decisions since World War Two.

Transformation to a post-Covid world is an even bigger feat to tackle than Brexit.

So this behaviour is deplorable and pathetic – and all parties need to immediately snap out of it to concentrate on what matters.

Carrie Symonds should immediately invite Dominic Cummings and his wife around for a private dinner in the Prime Ministerial flat at Number 11 Downing Street.

She was rightly furious about alleged leaks by Cummings’ allies last year describing her as ‘Princess Nut Nuts’ but there’s something much more important at stake now.

Carrie and Dom can have it out and then agree a respectful path forward that works for both sides.

Dominic should be offered roles that tap into his transformational ability and passion for levelling up Britain and making us a science and technology hub.

Then they should all shut the hell up forever more about their petty differences and put the interests of the United Kingdom before their egos.   

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