Aide who called Dominic Cummings ‘unkind’ to leave post | Politics

Downing Street has confirmed that the special adviser who confronted Dominic Cummings over his “unkindness” at a recent meeting is leaving the government.

Lynn Davidson, an aide to the defence secretary Ben Wallace, was asked to move post as part of a special advisers’ (Spad) reshuffle, in February, government insiders said – before she publicly upbraided Cummings over his treatment of aides.

On 14 February, at the weekly Spad meeting, Davidson reportedly criticised Cummings over his approach to government advisers.

Sources say Cummings, Johnson’s de facto chief of staff, played no role in Davidson’s departure – though one fellow aide said Cummings had referred to her as “the ex-MoD Spad” at a recent meeting.

They also suggest No 10 had sought to move her to another department, either health or education. But, in a development first reported by Buzzfeed, the former Sun journalist is now expected to leave the government.

Wallace, a longtime Johnson loyalist, had been widely tipped as at risk in the reshuffle but he kept his job as defence secretary.

The confrontation between Davidson and Cummings came after Sajid Javid dramatically resigned as chancellor, rather than accept that five of his aides would be sacked and their posts absorbed into a new handpicked “Spad unit” to serve the Treasury and No 10.

In his resignation speech, Javid said he believed the arrangement was not in the “national interest” and chancellors needed to be able to “speak truth to power”.

No 10 has taken a close interest in the role of ministerial advisers, removing or reshuffling those deemed not to be in tune with the government’s ethos – or suspected of leaking.

Several aides were asked to move departments alongside last month’s cabinet reshuffle. The government announced a new approach to recruiting advisers – unusually giving the consultancy Hanbury Strategy, whose directors include the Vote Leave strategist Paul Stephenson, a role in finding applicants. It also launched a website, spadjobs.uk.

Boris Johnson’s powerful director of communications, Lee Cain, would have the final say in all appointments, the government said.

Cummings has previously faced criticism over what some describe as his high-handed behaviour – in particular over the controversial sacking of the media adviser Sonia Khan, who was marched out of Downing Street over leak allegations after he demanded she hand over her phone.

He also drew criticism for hiring Andrew Sabisky, a temporary contractor who resigned over comments he had made about eugenics and race.

Davidson could not be reached for comment.

Source link