Dominic Cummings reads riot act and scolds aides for ‘leaking s***’
Dominic Cummings reads SPADs the riot act: Furious Brexit mastermind scolds aides for ‘leaking bulls***’ and tells them they can ‘f*** off’ if they don’t like him after advisor was sacked for ‘lying about contact with Remainers’
- Maverick Brexit chief sent the stark warning at a gathering of advisers tonight
- Showed no regret for dramatic axing of Sonia Khan who he accused of leaks
- Told advisers if they didn’t agree with his decision, they knew where door was
Fuming Dominic Cummings read the riot act to his special advisers and told them if they don’t like how he runs things they can ‘f*** off’, it emerged tonight.
The PM’s maverick Brexit chief sent the stark warning at a gathering of advisers tonight after he axed Sajid Javid’s aide and accused her of keeping in touch with her former boss, Philip Hammond.
Cummings fumed that he was ‘p***** off’ about his team leaking ‘bull****’ about SPAD pay and the lack of gender balance among advisers, according to The Times journalist Steven Swinford.
Earlier in the week Boris Johnson’s female aides expressed fury that they are being paid less than their male colleagues.
It was revealed that less than one-third of Mr Johnson’s advisers are women and that many of them are in the lowest pay bands. Cummings reportedly denied there was a gender pay gap.
The Brexit mastermind also showed no regret for his dramatic sacking of Sonia Khan, who he had frogmarched out of Downing Street by police on Thursday night, and told his team they knew where the door was if they didn’t agree with his decision.
Mr Cummings apparently demanded to inspect both Ms Khan’s phones before immediately firing her.
In a damning slight to Mr Javid, who kept Ms Khan on at No 10 after taking over from Philip Hammond, he was only told after the dramatic events.
Dominic Cummings (pictured in Westminster today) read the riot act to his special advisers and told them if they don’t like how he runs things they can ‘f*** off’ during SPAD meeting tonight
Cummings was unrepentant after dramatically sacking Sonia Khan, who was frogmarched out of Downing Street by police last night, and told his team they knew where the door was
In a damning slight to Mr Javid, who kept Ms Khan on at No10 after taking over from Philip Hammond, he was only told after the dramatic events.
There was deep anger and dismay today at the increasingly vicious culture being imposed by Mr Cummings, which has sent morale plummeting.
There has been a huge exodus of advisers from Whitehall since Mr Johnson installed him as his chief aide, with sweeping powers to mobilise the government machine to secure Brexit.
How Sonia Khan became the latest victim of ‘Spad Jihad’
September 2018 – Sonia Khan, a former TaxPayers’ Alliance campaigner, becomes media adviser to Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Despite being regarded as a Eurosceptic, Ms Khan earns a reputation as a tenacious defender of her boss.
July 2019 – Boris Johnson takes over as PM, and Mr Hammond departs warning he will speak out against No Deal from the backbenches.
Maverick new No10 chief Dominic Cummings issues a ‘one strike and you’re out’ warning to advisers over leaks.
Amid a mass cull of Spads and to the surprise of many, Ms Khan is kept on at the Treasury despite her previous ties to Mr Hammond.
August 18 – The Sunday Times publishes leaked details of the government’s Operation Yellowhammer assessment of No Deal Brexit fallout.
The leak sparks fury in No10, with sources pointing the finger at Mr Hammond.
August 25 – Mr Hammond writes to Mr Johnson demanding an apology for accusations that he leaked the documents. He said it had emerged they were dated August – after he and other Remainer ministers left government.
August 28 – The PM’s controversial plan of proroguing Parliament in mid-September is leaked before the Queen has been informed.
August 29 – Ms Khan is dramatically sacked in a showdown meeting with Dominic Cummings.
Sources say she was accused of lying about her ongoing contacts with people close to Mr Hammond, but admit she is not suspected of leaking the Yellowhammer documents.
One former adviser told MailOnline Mr Cummings increasingly ‘looks like a bully’, and said his conduct raised questions for the PM.
They also expressed bewilderment that Mr Javid had not stepped in to head off the row.
Ms Khan, who is in her 20s, had earned a reputation as a good operator in Westminster since joining Mr Hammond last year. She previously worked for ex-Cabinet minister Liam Fox and the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group.
The aftermath of the confrontation at 8pm last night was witnessed by other special advisers who were attending a meeting in Downing Street.
According to one official, Ms Khan was told by Mr Cummings that she was dismissed on the spot, ordered to hand over her mobile phone and told that her Whitehall security pass was cancelled with immediate effect.
‘The cops marched her out of No 10 while she protested her innocence. It was incredible,’ the official said.
Since Mr Johnson entered No 10, Mr Cummings, who was the mastermind of the Vote Leave campaign in 2016, has earned a reputation for stopping leaks by Government aides.
The sacking, revealed by the Mail’s Simon Walters, comes after the sensational disclosure of No Deal preparations earlier this month, ahead of Mr Johnson’s debut on the world stage as Prime Minister.
However, it is understood that No10 does not believe Ms Khan was responsible for the leak.
The dossier, which predicted food, fuel and medicine shortages if Britain left without a deal, appeared in the Sunday Times on August 18.
Under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, it warned of three months of chaos at ports, clashes with EU fishing vessels and a crisis for social care.
Downing Street claimed the forecasts were the work of the previous administration, out of date and showed a worst-case scenario.
A No 10 source blamed former frontbenchers led by Mr Hammond. It said the dossier, apparently written by Cabinet Office officials, was ‘from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available’.
The source claimed: ‘It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.’
Ms Khan’s sacking comes days after Mr Hammond gave an interview saying No Deal would be just as much of a ‘betrayal’ as not leaving.
He accused No 10 of smearing former ministers by suggesting they had released details of Operation Yellowhammer.
After his comments, it emerged the dossier was from August 2019 – after Mr Hammond and other pro-Remain cabinet ministers were replaced by Mr Johnson.
In his letter to the PM, the former chancellor said it was clear the document ‘would not have been available to any former minister who is not serving in the current administration’.
Mr Hammond said: ‘Accordingly, I am writing on behalf of all former ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity, acknowledge that no former minister could have leaked this document, and apologise for the misleading briefing from No10.’
Labour called for the document to be published in full in order to inform public debate about the implications of No Deal.
Ms Khan declined to comment today.
Ms Khan was recruited as a special adviser by Mr Hammond last September. She had worked for former international trade secretary Liam Fox and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
War of words: Boris Johnson and ex-chancellor Philip Hammond have traded blows over No Deal
A diagram showing what could happen next after Boris Johnson announced that Parliament would be prorogued from mid-September until a Queen’s Speech in mid-October
Dominic Cummings: The acerbic Brexit mastermind not afraid to speak his mind
Dominic Cummings was the quiet yet acerbic power behind the Vote Leave campaign that propelled Britain towards backing Brexit in 2016.
While Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were in the limelight the 47-year-old remained in the shadows pulling the strings.
Born in Durham and educated at Oxford University, he over saw a campaign that totally outflanked Remain and which is widely credited with leading to the 52-48 result in favour of quitting.
Such was his central role he was played by Benedict Cummberbach in Channel 4’s Brexit: The Uncivil War last year (below).
He was the man behind the infamous ‘£350million-a-week for the NHS’ claim on red buses, and the ‘take back control’ catchphrase. However, a year after the referendum, Mr Cummings said it was a ‘dumb idea’.
But his success in the strategic role of the campaign saw his drawn blinking into the daylight.
A former special adviser at the Department for Education during Mr Gove’s controversial reforming tenure was later found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to answer MPs questions about campaign.
He declined to assist the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s investigation into claims made by Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie that the Facebook data of millions of users was illegally harvested and used to sway the Brexit vote.
He was once labelled a ‘career psychopath’ by former prime minister David Cameron, according to widely-reported remarks.
But Mr Cummings is no stranger to an insult either.
He described Mr Davis, then the Brexit secretary, as ‘thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus’ in July 2017.
He has also turned his fire on hardline Brexiteers in the Tory European Research Group in one of his trademark lengthy blogposts.
In March he likened some members of the to a ‘metastasising tumour’ accusing them of ‘scrambling’ for top radio spots while ‘spouting gibberish’ since 2016.
He also attacked them for their help – or lack of it – during the referendum campaign, saying ‘so many of you guys were too busy shooting or skiing or chasing girls to do any actual work’.
The mastermind criticised a ‘narcissist-delusional subset’ of the ERG that he said needed to be ‘excised’.
Some had actually been ‘useful idiots for Remain during the campaign’ and continued to play this role, he claimed.
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