Dominic Cummings could resign from Downing Street as Boris Johnson’s senior aide after Lee Cain was forced out as director of communications.
Former Vote Leave communications chief Cain had been expected to enter Boris 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, with Times Radio journalist Tom Newton Dunn claiming that he was “very unhappy” about the departure of his closest ally in Number 10. He tweeted: “His resignation too is now ’50/50′, says one insider.”
Robert Peston had heard similar rumours, but with the ITV political editor adding: “It would be a defining moment in the history of this government”.
Earlier this year it was claimed Cummings could resign after Christmas when Brexit is considered “done”.
In a statement confirming his resignation, Cain confirmed he had been asked to serve as chief of staff before quitting.
He said: “After careful consideration I have this evening resigned as No 10 director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
“It has been a privilege to work as an adviser for Mr Johnson for the last three years – being part of a team that helped him win the Tory leadership contest, secure the largest Conservative majority for three decades – and it was an honour to be asked to serve as the prime minister’s chief of staff.
“I would like to thank all the team at No 10 – including the many unsung and incredibly talented civil servants – for their hard work and support during the last 18 months.
“And most of all I would like to thank the prime minister for his loyalty and leadership.
“I have no doubt that under his premiership the country will deliver on the promises made in the 2019 election campaign and build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Johnson released a statement thanking Cain for his work, both in Downing Street and helping him with his leadership bid.
He said: “I want to thank Lee for his extraordinary service to the government over the last four years. He has been a true ally and friend and I am very glad that he will remain director of communications until the new year. He will be much missed”.
It is expected James Slack will take up the communications role in the new year.