Politics

Dominic Cummings and Carrie Symonds ‘feud over Boris Johnson’s reshuffle’

A row has erupted between Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds and his chief advisor Dominic Cummings over the Cabinet reshuffle, it has been claimed.

Miss Symonds is apparently backing ministers who claim Mr Cumming's heavy-handed treatment of ministers, officials and journalists is harming the Prime Minister's image, according to Treasury sources.

Reports that the advisor urged the PM to sack Chancellor Sajid Javid and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace – two ministers with close links to Miss Symonds – has stoked the flames of the feud.

Mr Johnson is said to be against firing Mr Javid but how secure Mr Wallace remains is unclear with a reshuffle likely to happen this week, reports the Daily Mail.


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Mr Cummings is also understood to be looking to remove several Tory ministerial special advisers, some who are close to Miss Symonds.

The Prime Minister could be dragged into the centre of a potentially damaging power struggle between the pair – the most powerful members of his Cabinet of key advisors.

Miss Symonds and Mr Cummings each have prominent Cabinet allies and hobby horses fighting their corners.

The former joined the party as a press officer a decade ago before being pushed up to director of communities three years ago, working for senior Conservatives John Whittingdale, Zac Goldsmith and Mr Javid.

She is described as a skilled networker, as well as being a environmental campaigner, with her animal welfare views and stance on the release of violent criminals having influenced Mr Johnson.

Mr Cummings, meanwhile, pioneered radical school reforms as special adviser to then-Education Secretary Michael Gove and is hailed as the genius behind the Vote Leave campaign in 2016's EU referendum.

During a party on January 31, marking Brexit night, the Prime Minister praised his chief advisor for coming up with the powerful 'Get Brexit Done' slogan, paving the way for his landslide General Election victory in December.

Mr Cummings' war on the mainstream media since then though has seen him come under fire, including recently banning reporters from organisations considered hostile to the Government, resulting in a revolt of Westminster lobby journalists.

He had also banned ministers' special advisors lunching with journalists, to avoid stories being leaked, though both he and Miss Symonds have close ties with certain senior journalists.

It is also understood he is behind a Number 10 campaign to chop the BBC down to size, including blocking ministers from appearing on Radio 4's Today show, claiming it is anti-Tory.

A Treasury source told the Mail: "There was always a risk that Carrie and Dom were going to fall out and that the PM would get caught in the crossfire.

"Dom is trying to run the Government the same way he won the referendum campaign. He doesn’t care who he insults if it makes the Government more effective. Carrie is just as determined and is very loyal to her friends."

Mr Cummings and Miss Symonds are both considered good at getting their own way, and both boast powerful political allies, though also a number of enemies.

The Prime Minister, however, avoids personal confrontation but does appear keen to ignore Mr Cummings' campaign to scrap the HS2 rail link, as well as putting his foot down over Mr Javid.

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