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Downing Street has been plunged into chaos after Lee Cain quit as director of communications here our political editor gives his views


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Boris Johnson is apparently counting the cost of a power struggle in No 10 which resulted in the resignation of one of his closest aides.

Lee Cain announced yesterday, that he was quitting as director of communications amid a bitter row in Downing Street, here political editor Paul Francis gives his analysis of the situation.

Lee Cain announced late on Wednesday he was quitting as director of communications. Picture: PA
Lee Cain announced late on Wednesday he was quitting as director of communications. Picture: PA

If we are to believe what we are hearing and reading, Downing Street is in chaos, seething with recriminations and blazing rows and plunging Boris Johnson into yet more turmoil.

There is definitely something amiss: the resignation of one of his key advisors amid claim and counterclaim is gripping the Westminster bubble like nothing before.

Whether any of this resonates with the public is a moot point. Voters are inclined to be underwhelmed by this sort of story, often because they have no idea who these people are and because it often comes across as self indulgent.

If you are a parent struggling to make ends meet or a careworker scraping a living, internal spats behind the doors of Downing Street as different camps try to protect their political fiefdoms will probably induce a huge yawn.

So, should we be concerned at the resignation of one of the Prime Ministers' key allies? In as much as it points to a a somewhat dysfunctional environment in Downing Street, where rival camps are apparently at each other's throats, the answer might be yes.

Should we be concerned at the resignation of one of the Prime Ministers' key allies? Stock picture
Should we be concerned at the resignation of one of the Prime Ministers' key allies? Stock picture

But the tsunami of reports featuring "close sources" and "senior ministerial allies" and 'he-said, she-said' accounts of every blow will be seen by many as wildly disproportionate compared to issues like the coronavirus.

The thread that links the behind-the-scenes antics at Downing Street is Dominic Cummings, the political Voldemort who acts as the Prime Minister's chief advisor and protector.

In case you need reminding, he was the one who breached lockdown restrictions by travelling to Durham with his family and duly faced criticisms that the public or being told to do one thing while others in more privileged positions did another.

He is a deeply divisive figure and does not have many - if any - friends among Kent MPs. In fact many rushed to stab him in the front as the saga unfolded.

Among them was Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale, who urged the Prime Minister to sack him and dispense with his services, arguing that the episode had undermined the government's lockdown strategy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings outside his home in north London Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings outside his home in north London Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

For now, it seems Cummings will survive but if he goes, there may not be much sympathy for him from Kent.

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