Boris Johnson has been urged to get rid of the second “Kray Brother” running Downing Street in a warning about his senior aide Dominic Cummings.
The prime minister has been told by senior Tories to “get a grip” after being left weakened by war in No 10 in the middle of the second Covid wave and with weeks to clinch a Brexit trade deal.
This comes after director of communications Lee Cain announced he was quitting and now pressure is growing for Johnson to axe his top adviser Cummings.
A senior Tory MP told the Evening Standard: “If they have got rid of one of the Kray Brothers, they have got to get rid of Cummings as well.
“To use a well-known phrase, Boris should take back control and be the real Boris that so many of his genuine friends and supporters believe that he can be.”
The internal battles in No 10 exploded into the public after an inquiry was launched into the leaking of the plan for a second lockdown, which bounced Johnson into announcing it earlier.
The prime minister was forced to act before more health data was available, which might have cast doubts on whether the new restrictions were needed.
Rumours have swirled around Westminster that Cain, who was part of Cummings’s Vote Leave team, had a role in the leak, which he strongly denies.
Former Vote Leave communications chief Cain had been expected to enter Johnson’s inner circle by becoming his chief of staff, ahead of Allegra Stratton joining the government as press spokesperson.
But there was anger from Tory MPs with reports Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds had also blocked the appointment.
Johnson had reportedly awarded Cain the role to consolidate Vote Leave’s grip on the administration, before withdrawing the offer, causing the adviser to resign.
There are claims that Cummings could also follow.
Now senior MPs are urging Johnson to order a shake-up at the heart of government, given the colossal task of having to deal with the pandemic, Brexit, the integrated defence review, the spending review, and the COP26 climate change summit.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: “The bandwidth of government is clearly unable to cope.
“There is a strong desire to see an overhaul and expansion of the Whitehall machine to improve decision-making and competence.”