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Mon Feb 3, 2020, 07:13 PM

Sajid Javid's At War With Dominic Cummings Over The "Control Freakery" Of Boris Johnson's Top Aide

Allies of Javid have accused Cummings of plotting to get him sacked at the looming cabinet reshuffle — expected in the next seven days — and replaced with a more junior minister such as chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak, or another figure more amenable to Johnson’s senior aides.

The attempt failed and the prime minister has privately assured the chancellor that his position is safe, with Johnson and Javid maintaining a strong personal and working relationship, a Whitehall source said.

The bruising fight between the chancellor and Johnson’s chief aide — and Cummings’ struggle to convince the prime minister, cabinet and senior civil servants of the merits of some of his proposals — have been the early themes behind the scenes in Downing Street since the Tories won an 86-seat majority in December.

BuzzFeed News can also reveal that:

* Javid’s allies have complained that Johnson’s advisers were responsible for “poison pen” briefings to the newspapers criticising the chancellor, as Number 10 aides blasted Treasury officials for unauthorised briefings against them.

* A longtime friend said Javid’s relationship with Cummings had broken down “irrevocably”.

* Ministers worried about losing their jobs during the reshuffle have been holding “new pizza club” meetings to discuss how to combat the “control freakery” of Johnson’s de facto chief of staff.

* Even some of Cummings’ closest allies have started to question his decisions, in the first sign of dissent among the Vote Leave faction of advisers.

* Number 10 aides have lost internal arguments on a range of decisions from High Speed 2 to knocking down walls inside Downing Street.


Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

During the election, the very reasonable assumption was that anything reported by Laura Kuenssberg et al. as coming from a "No. 10 source" was something Cummings wanted reported. That may no longer be such a certainty, judging by a comment later in the article:

"One minister told BuzzFeed News that they have been playing a game where they send journalists anonymous quotes in the unique style of Cummings in order to see if they can make him look ridiculous in the media."

Maybe they've been at it for ages, because I've always thought Cummings has looked ridiculous in the media.

The article goes on to point out that there are ministerial concerns that there's been a lot of hot air from the government so far, but very little of the sort of "substantive activity" that might be expected with such a sizeable majority. I'm not sure I'm unhappy about that, given what they could get up to.

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