Number 10 turmoil sees jockeying for position at centre of power

(PA Wire)
19:38pm, Sat 14 Nov 2020
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The turmoil in Number 10 caused by the exit of two of Boris Johnson’s formerly closest aides leaves room for a reboot of the Prime Minister’s administration.

The dramatic departure of senior advisor Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain during a power struggle has now left a vacuum in Downing Street.

Both men are expected to remain in position until mid-December, but with their influence on the wain, other figures are set to fill the void.

(PA Wire)

The shake-up in Downing Street could see the return of ex-ministers who were previously seen as out of favour.

Former chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid has been tipped for a return to a senior position after the clearout at Number 10.

Mr Johnson is reported to want to present a more liberal mage, as he did while mayor of London between 2008-2016.

The situation could see Mr Johnson form a broader range of opinions in Cabinet after the departure of Mr Cummings and Mr Cain, who were central in the Vote Leave Brexit campaign.

Sir Edward Lister has been named as interim chief of staff in the wake of the events in the prime minister’s inner circle.

He was elevated from the role of chief strategic adviser, a post that saw him  closely involved in controversial negotiations with leaders in Greater Manchester over coronavirus restrictions being imposed under the tier system.

Sir Edward was previously deputy mayor of London and is a long term supporter of Mr Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman James Slack, well respected within the Westminster press hub, will succeed Mr Cain as director of communications when he departs.

(PA Wire)

Former political editor of the Daily Mail, Mr Slack held the same official spokesman role during Theresa May’s premiership as a member of the permanent civil service.

Former Newsnight and ITV journalist Allegra Stratton is also set for a major role in the Government’s communication output when she starts hosting daily press briefings in the new year.

Ms Stratton has been selected to front upcoming televised press briefings on behalf of the Prime Minister.

It has also been reported Ms Stratton was unhappy about suggestions that Mr Cain could become Downing Street chief of staff before he left the post of communications director.

She made the switch from journalism to Whitehall earlier this year, after being recruited as Rishi Sunak’s communications chief at the Treasury in April.

Her hiring was reportedly a move that Mr Cain opposed and he took it as a blow to his authority, and long-simmering tensions in No 10 began boiling over.

Mr Sunak is also being touted by some as the front runner to take over from Mr Johnson as Tory leader, should he quit in the near future.

The Prime Minister’s fiancee Carrie Symonds was also reported to be opposed to Mr Cain getting a promotion.

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