‘Beginning of the end’ in Number 10 for Cummings, who will reportedly ‘leave by Christmas’

“Dominic Cummings is at “the beginning of the end” of his time in Downing Street after he and a close ally lost a bitter power struggle within No 10, sources said on Thursday night. The Prime Minister’s chief adviser signalled that he could be gone by Christmas, having said his plan had always been to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of the year. Mr Cummings was left hugely weakened after Boris Johnson effectively called his bluff over the resignation of Lee Cain as director of communications. He had allegedly threatened to walk out immediately if Mr Cain was allowed to go, and had said up to half a dozen staff would follow him – but he failed to carry out the threat, leaving him diminished after the bruising civil war… Mr Johnson’s supporters on Thursday night urged him to “take back control” of Number 10 by installing trusted party members in key roles instead of the former Vote Leave cabal headed by Mr Cummings.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Symonds takes back control from ‘mad mullahs’ of Brexit – The Times
  • She ‘led a revolt’ against her fiance’s plan to promote Cain – Daily Telegraph
  • Government moving to ‘different phase’ once he’s gone, says Shapps – The Guardian
  • Humbling advice for next chief of staff – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: “With a Cummings, a Cummings and a half”

How Johnson’s late-night call helped avert mass exodus

“It was a damage limitation exercise like no other. Shortly after 10pm on Wednesday, aides at Number 10 were frantically trying to contact other colleagues to persuade them not to resign. There was a very real fear that as many as half a dozen advisers could walk out following the resignation of Lee Cain, Downing Street’s head of communications, an hour earlier. Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, had made it clear some weeks earlier that if Mr Cain resigned he would go too – and take others with him. When staff left work at 9pm on Wednesday, shortly after Mr Cain’s resignation, they believed that Oliver Lewis, Mr Johnson’s deputy Brexit adviser, and possibly Mr Cummings, who are considered to be “of one mind” by colleagues, had made up their minds to go. “Five or six” aides would have walked out if Mr Cummings had resigned, according to sources.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister and his team accused of fighting ‘like rats in a sack’ – The Sun


  • MP links lockdown leak inquiry to departing PR chief – Daily Telegraph
  • Settlement for Khan, adviser marched out of No 10 – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Will Cummings quit? It’s Carrie Symonds v Vote Leave – as tensions over the Government’s future explode

Fraser Nelson: Vote Leave has fallen, but what will now fill the power vacuum in No10?

“Appointing a Chief of Staff makes sense, if nothing else to stop things falling through the cracks. The school dinners fiasco, for example, happened because no one could work out which government department should be responsible for feeding children outside of term-time. Cummings fought hard to keep Cain in the Chief of Staff role. But he has now lost his fight, very publicly, in a way that raises questions about how long he’ll hang around for after the Brexit deal is done. The Tories who have always loathed Dominic Cummings know that they had best be careful what they wish for. As one puts it, “the only thing worse than Boris with Dom is Boris without Dom”. Johnson is no micro-manager and needs someone with incredible work ethic and ability. He’d like his No10 to run as smoothly as Rishi Sunak’s Treasury – and would certainly like his team to include Cummings. But not necessarily run by Cummings. The era of Vote Leave dominance, in other words, is over. Cain’s departure marks this.” – Daily Telegraph

  • In all my years I’ve never seen a Downing Street inner circle descend into civil war so rapidly – Simon Walters, Daily Mail
  • From secretive Covid contracts to town funds fiasco, government culture is rotten – Richard Vize, The Guardian
  • Johnson has been let down by his ‘mad and mediocre’ Vote Leave advisers – Guto Harri, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister’s fiancee led a coup that has ousted two of his key aides… and emasculated him – Amanda Platell, Daily Mail


>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Symonds is well placed to take a view on Tory communications. But she won’t want to become the story.

Shapps adds most of Greece to the quarantine ‘red list’ and extends Denmark travel ban

“Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced most of Greece is being added to the Government’s travel quarantine ‘red list’. Only the islands of Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos are being allowed to maintain their exemption from self-isolation requirements. That means anyone who travels back to England from anywhere else in Greece from 4am on Saturday will have to quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, self-isolation requirements will be lifted on travel from a number of countries including Cambodia, Chile, Iceland, Laos and the United Arab Emirates as of this weekend. Mr Shapps also announced that a travel ban which applies to Denmark is going to be extended for a further 14 days as the Government tries to protect against importing Covid-19 cases during the England-wide lockdown. International travel is restricted during the current four-week national shutdown as the Government urges the nation to stay at home as much as possible.” – Daily Mail

  • Sturgeon seeks ‘right balance’ for Christmas Covid rules – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Sturgeon’s timeline on Salmond scandal called into question as MSPs demand evidence

Sunak drops stimulus hint as economic recovery fades

“Rishi Sunak is poised to stoke up consumer spending with a fresh multi-billion pound giveaway blitz after official figures revealed that the economic recovery has almost ground to  a halt. The Chancellor is preparing to take emergency action following statistics which showed that the economy remained more than 8pc below its pre-crisis peak at the end of September, despite an unprecedented GDP rebound of 15.5pc in the third quarter as businesses reopened. Britain is now in the grip of of a fresh downturn after England was plunged back into lockdown, with a further brutal hit to jobs, living standards and tax revenue. The Chancellor refused to be drawn on specific measures but said that supporting consumer spending will be a priority when a vaccine helps life to return to normal. His £522m Eat Out To Help Out meal discount scheme in August is thought to have protected the restaurant industry and driven up growth.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tory fury as tax watchdog urges Rishi Sunak to milk their middle classes voters – Daily Mail
  • Sunak is ‘revving up Britain’s manufacturing recovery’ with a massive tax break extension – Daily Express


  • Health leaders urge Chancellor to increase NHS spending – FT
  • Sunak won’t rule out another Eat Out to Help Out – The Sun


  • Things are looking up for post-Covid economy – Ed Conway, The Times

Crouch blasts rules that ban her taking part in debate

“An MP with breast cancer blasted parliamentary rules that stopped her taking part in a debate on her own illness. Former minister Tracey Crouch is working from home after being diagnosed with the disease in June. But she could not Zoom in to take part in a debate on her own illness because the government will not allow virtual proceedings. She demanded Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg “urgently reconsider” his ban. The 45-year-old MP fumed: “You will be aware there is a debate in Westminster Hall today on breast cancer which, because of his ruling, some of us with real and current life experience of the disease are disappointingly unable to participate in.” … Other furious MPs weighed in behind Ms Crouch, lashing the draconian rules. Labour MP Chris Bryant fumed: “It is appalling that Tracey Crouch is excluded from a debate on breast cancer because she is recuperating from cancer.”” – The Sun

Raab condemns Hong Kong expulsions

“Britain accused China of a “clear breach” of its legally binding international commitments after Beijing ordered the expulsion of members of Hong Kong’s parliament, prompting the mass resignation of the pro-democracy opposition. The Foreign Office summoned the Chinese ambassador “to register our deep concern at this latest action by his government” and Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, vowed that Britain would work with its allies to hold China to its obligations under the Sino-British joint declaration, guaranteeing Hong Kong’s separate governing system following its handover in 1997. “China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” he said. “The UK will stand up for the people of Hong Kong and call out violations of their rights and freedoms. With our international partners, we will hold China to the obligations it freely assumed under international law.”” – The Times

  • Downing Street summons Chinese Ambassador to slap down Beijing – The Sun

‘Jobs and jets could go’ in Ministry of Defence battle for cash

“Defence officials say that the number of soldiers will have to be cut, bases closed and plans for a new fighter jet shelved if the military is not given a multi-billion pound settlement. Boris Johnson has told Rishi Sunak that he wants a £15 billion multi-year settlement for defence to strengthen Britain’s place on the world stage after Brexit and underpin a defence and security review. Mr Sunak however, wants a one-year settlement worth £1.9 billion. Both sides are at loggerheads before the Comprehensive Spending Review on November 25, when a decision will have to be made. The Times has been told that officials have drawn up contingency plans for a small settlement under which the army could be cut to fewer than 74,000 troops. There are also suggestions that Tempest, a UK-led programme to develop a fighter jet, could have to be shelved… Threats to defer expected investment in Tempest will delight France and Germany where collaboration on a rival initiative is under way.” – The Times

  • Army set to lose 10,000 troops and may be smaller than Germany’s – The Sun
  • MPs bemoan ‘debilitating lack of clarity’ on Royal Navy carriers – FT

Starmer should apologise for Labour’s Brexit position, say ex-shadow ministers

“Keir Starmer should apologise for Labour’s promise to seek a second referendum on Brexit, three former shadow ministers have argued, saying the policy had left many of the party’s leave-backing traditional supporters “in a rage”. Ian Lavery, Jon Trickett and Laura Smith, all of whom held frontbench posts under Jeremy Corbyn, have produced a report into attitudes to the party among its supporters, based on discussions at 50 virtual events. Before the launch of the document, titled No Holding Back, the trio said a considerable element of Labour’s falling away in support among working-class voters in 2019 was due to its approach to Brexit. The party went into the election promising a second referendum, a stance seen as largely led by Starmer, who was shadow Brexit secretary. He replaced Corbyn as party leader in April.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Who’d work in Downing Street? – Polly Mackenzie, UnHerd
  • The questions we must ask about the Covid vaccine – Dr Simon Clarke, The Spectator
  • Overprivileged, out-of-touch BBC must commercialise to survive – Christian Wakeford MP, CapX
  • In praise of post-liberalism – Will Orr-Ewing, The Critic
  • The dream of a united Europe is in danger of fading into history – Walter Ellis, Reaction