Is this a turning point in Downing Street? Dominic Cummings, the very influential and controversial architect of the ‘Brexit’ campaign has abruptly stepped down as special adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He was due to leave before the end of the year, but was seen, Friday evening, November 13, leaving Downing Street, head down and carrying his boxes. His departure follows the resignation, two days earlier, of the Prime Minister’s communications director, Lee Cain, another architect of the “Leave” victory.
Their departure comes during the home stretch of negotiations between London and Brussels in an attempt to reach an agreement on their future trade relations after December 31. A “No deal” at the end of this period, during which European rules continue to apply, would imply the reestablishment of customs duties and quotas between London and the 27, potentially damaging to economies already weakened by the pandemic.
The hard wing of the “Brexiters”
However, the two resigning represented the hard wing of the “Brexiters”, ready to exit without agreement from the European Union. Director of the pro-Brexit campaign, Dominic Cummings played a decisive role in the victory of “Leave” by leading an offensive based on social networks and the collection of personal data. His methods were later questioned, in particular the use of misleading slogans and targeted political advertisements.
He also played an important role in the Conservatives’ victory in the early legislative elections in December, before gaining considerable weight with Boris Johnson upon his appointment as special advisor in July 2019. His combative approach and his desire to want to control everything , according to the press, have led to a climate of permanent tension within the executive and the conservatives.
At the origin of a series of layoffs
Among other controversies, Dominic Cummings is suspected of having been behind a series of layoffs of ministerial assistants accused of not defending the Brexit cause with enough vigor, and even of causing the departure in February. from Finance Minister Sajid Javid, who refused to part with all his advisers in favor of those on Downing Street.
In addition, the one who mocked elitism was accused in the spring of breaking containment intended to fight the new coronavirus and disregarding rules that apply to all, then underestimating the anger provoked by his behavior.
An approach “Less dogmatic” facing the European Union
Boris Johnson wants to rekindle a peaceful dialogue with Conservative MPs and take an approach, according to The Times newspaper “Less dogmatic” facing the European Union. “It’s just plain wrong”, reacted a spokesperson for Boris Johnson. “The government’s position (…) is unchanged”, he continued: he wants an agreement respecting “Totally the sovereignty of the United Kingdom”.
For Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, Dominic Cummings’ departure will restore “Respect, integrity and trust” who “Were lacking in recent months” between parliamentarians and the executive.