Cummings forced out in ‘purge of Brexiteers’

“Boris Johnson told his most senior aide to leave Downing Street with immediate effect last night as he began a clearout of the Brexiteers who have run his government since he became prime minister. Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, head of communications, were told by the prime minister to quit amid fears that they would “poison the well” if they were allowed to remain in post until the end of the year, as planned. Their departures represent the conclusion of a vicious power struggle at the heart of government in which the two trusted aides were pitted against the prime minister’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, who led moves to oust them. There were concerns, however, that the acrimonious end to the relationship between Mr Johnson and the man credited with delivering him his 80-seat majority could spell longer-term problems for the prime minister.” – The Times

  • Chief aide accuses Prime Minister of ‘dithering’ as he is ordered out of Downing Street – Daily Telegraph
  • Get out, Johnson told Cummings and Cain – The Times
  • He ‘will work from home on existing projects such as mass testing’ – Daily Mail
  • Fears in Number 10 that Prime Minister’s former aide and Brexit architect will turn against him – FT
  • ‘What goes around comes around’: the intrigues behind Cain’s departure – The Guardian
  • ‘Hard rain’ civil service reform, security overhaul, BBC shake up and now even Brexit are in doubt – Daily Mail


Javid ‘tipped to be Boris Johnson’s next chief of staff’

“Sajid Javid has emerged as a front-runner for a senior role in Boris Johnson’s new team at Number 10 after the exits of the former Vote Leave colleagues Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, is being tipped to take over as Health Secretary in a reshuffle to relaunch Mr Johnson’s Government early next year. Mr Javid – ousted as Chancellor in February when he refused to accept sharing advisers with Downing Street – is understood to have raised the idea of being appointed chief of staff with the Prime Minister in the summer. It would be highly unusual for a sitting MP to take on the role, but MPs believe Mr Javid has the right top-level skills for the job and could help communicate the PM’s plans to increasingly fractious backbenchers. One source said he would fit the bill as “someone who commands the respect of the Cabinet, who has been around Government”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Path cleared for ex-Chancellor to return in reshuffle – The Times
  • End of macho era – The Guardian
  • Departure of powerful adviser is greeted with joy and relief by some Tories – FT
  • Aide sacked by Cummings and frogmarched out of Downing Street given five-figure payout – The Sun

Charles Moore: With Cummings gone, Boris himself is dangerously exposed

“Why did Dominic Cummings become the key figure in Boris Johnson’s administration? Because he was the one who could make decisions. And why has he had to leave that administration? For the same reason… Since that election victory, Mr Cummings has been the adviser who decides. This is ultimately an impossible position, because advisers are supposed only to advise: politicians must decide. The resentment against such advisers quickly becomes too great, which is what nearly happened in May after Mr Cummings’s notorious family trip to Barnard Castle during the lockdown. It is what did finally happen on Thursday afternoon, when Mr Cummings resigned… Yet, as one Cabinet minister put it yesterday: “This is dropping the pilot.” He was referring to the famous 1890 cartoon by Tenniel of rash Kaiser Wilhelm II getting rid of Bismarck. There is no other pilot visible.” – Daily Telegraph

  • This exit must end the discord at Downing Street – Henry Mance, FT
  • Deal or no-deal Brexit, departure turns up the heat on Johnson – Anand Menon, The Guardian
  • There’s still a way Johnson can save himself – Matthew Parris, The Times


  • Symonds has emerged as key player in Downing Street – The Times


Ministers plan swift reform of universities’ admissions system

“The government plans radical reform university admissions after vice-chancellors supported a change to the present system. It could see teenagers getting their university offers only after A-level results, or even in a more extreme shake-up with applications made after results and degrees starting in January not the autumn. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, was expected to reveal the plans yesterday evening, the day after Universities UK called for a shake-up to make the process fairer. He is said to want to move fast on changing admissions, so that teenagers will get offers from universities only after receiving their A-level results in August. At the moment, sixth-formers have to apply based on predicted grades and narrow their choices to two institutions ahead of actual results. Britain is thought to be one of the only countries to have a system based on predicted grades and reform has been discussed for about 20 years.” – The Times

Scientists defend controversial head of UK vaccine task force

“Leading scientists have defended Kate Bingham, the controversial head of the UK’s vaccine task force, praising her work in securing the country’s access to one of the world’s largest portfolios of coronavirus vaccines — including the first deal to buy the leading candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech. Ms Bingham, a venture capitalist who in May accepted an unpaid six-month assignment to accelerate the development of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine for the UK, has been under fire for allegedly sharing sensitive information at a private investment conference and for hiring expensive PR consultants. But medical scientists and biotech executives have told the Financial Times that under her stewardship, the task force had succeeded not only in signing deals for a total of 350m doses of six vaccines for the UK, but also establishing a strong manufacturing, distribution and clinical trials infrastructure to support their introduction.” – FT

  • Devastating exposé reveals how ministers have scorned some of Britain’s top virus experts – Daily Mail


  • Hancock says he would take coronavirus vaccine first if it helped to bat down anti-vaxxers – The Sun
  • Sage backs lifting of lockdown in weeks after R rate success – The Times

Patel ‘not following her own anti-trafficking policy’, judge rules

“The deportation of hundreds of asylum seekers who arrived in the UK on small boats could be halted after a judge ruled that the home secretary was departing from her own policy on identifying victims of trafficking. The high court case was brought by three potential victims of trafficking – one from Eritrea and two from Sudan – who recently arrived in the UK on small boats. Trafficking in Libya is well-documented, and there is a particular risk that asylum seekers who have passed through the country have been trafficked. Since the start of the pandemic, Priti Patel has departed from her own published policy to ask asylum seekers questions about their journeys to the UK. The claimants said they were not asked specific questions about their journey when Home Office officials interviewed them after their recent arrivals to the UK.” – The Guardian

Sunak in bid to curb foreign aid budget

“Rishi Sunak wants to shelve the foreign aid target as he struggles with the crisis in public finances, the Mail can reveal. The Chancellor and the Prime Minister will meet next week to decide the fate of the country’s overseas handouts ahead of the Spending Review. The UK is legally committed to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid, with the controversial bill surpassing £15 billion for the first time last year. Ministers could scrap the target altogether, decide not to meet it on a temporary basis, or rewrite the rules so more government spending is counted as aid. Foreign aid and military spending are understood to be the last remaining issues to be resolved ahead of the announcement of the review on November 25. A move to ditch the target permanently would prove highly controversial as the Conservatives committed to keeping it in their 2019 general election manifesto. It is more likely that ministers will seek to take advantage of a loophole in the legislation that allows them to disregard the target in certain circumstances.” – Daily Mail

  • NHS needs extra £4bn next year because of Covid, Chancellor told – The Guardian

>Today: Book Reviews: The fullest account yet written of Sunak the rising star

>Yesterday: Anthony Mangnall MP in Comment: How the Prime Minister can make British overseas aid spending more effective

‘Outrage’ after EU threatens Britain’s energy supply over Brexit fishing rights row

“Brussels threat to the UK’s European energy access in the event of a no-deal Brexit have been rubbished by The National Grid and the Government’s energy department. In EU source warned Britain could lose “top-up in access to our electricity markets” unless it compromises with Brussels in ongoing trade talks over fishing and state aid rules. European officials close to the talks have warned Britain could lose energy supplies unless a deal is done, with the UK leaving the bloc by the end of the year. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed “there is a deal to be done” as Michel Barnier and David Frost, EU and UK chief negotiators, met in London for further trade talks. The National Grid has said there is more than enough energy capacity in the UK to cope with any loss of EU gas and electricity… The UK has 45 gas plants and four coal plants, and can be paid £8.40 for a kilowatt of dispatch able power, which is kept in excess for emergencies.” – Daily Express

  • Trade deal could be done in ’10 days’ claims senior MEP – Daily Telegraph

Tories blast Khan for refusing to say Met aren’t ‘institutionally racist’

“Tories have blasted Sadiq Khan for refusing to say the Met Police are not “institutionally racist” and demanding cops “justify” stop and searches. Mr Khan today warned police officers are not “free from bias” as he launched an action plan to “improve trust” among black and minority ethnic communities and the police. But the London Mayor’s comments sparked fury from Tory politicians for refusing to back the police and deny they are institutionally racist. When asked on Sky News whether the Met were “institutionally racist”, Mr Khan said: “I grew up in the city and I was routinely stopped and search for no good reason by the police. “I didn’t have confidence in the police force growing up, and the police force today is light years away from when I was growing up.” When pressed on whether he believed racism was rampant among cops, Mr Khan said: “I think the (Police) Commissioner herself has accepted that the police service in London is not free from racism, bias and discrimination.” – The Sun

Starmer in control of Labour Party after Momentum falls short

“Sir Keir Starmer consolidated his control over Labour last night after elections to the party’s ruling body. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn failed to overturn a moderate majority on the national executive committee (NEC) despite winning the most support from grassroots members. Nine seats on Labour’s NEC were up for election in polls that opened in September and ran until Thursday. Left-wing candidates sponsored by Momentum and other Corbynite groups won five seats to three for a joint Blairite and right-wing slate supportive of Sir Keir. Ann Black, a non-aligned left candidate and veteran activist, won the ninth seat. The results appeared to vindicate left-wing hopes that Sir Keir’s standing among members had been damaged by his shift to the centre and the suspension of Mr Corbyn. Both sides declared victory last night, however. While Momentum hailed a “big win”, Sir Keir retained a clear overall majority of seats on the NEC.” – The Times


  • Over half Muslim Labour members ‘do not trust party to tackle Islamophobia’ – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Johnson looks ever more like a modern Napoleon III – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The missed opportunity of Cummings – Peter Franklin, UnHerd
  • Who will be the next No.10 Chief? – David Scullion, The Critic
  • Don’t silence the anti-vaxxers – Joanna Williams, The Spectator