“The ugliest wars are always civil wars that pit family against family,” says Tim Shipman in The Sunday Times. Hence the ferocity of the fallout between Boris Johnson and his “mercurial strategist” Dominic Cummings. Their Vote Leave campaign was like a tight-knit family, but with Brexit done, Johnson’s “mafia” comrades began to clash with his actual family: Carrie Symonds and their son, Wilfred. More tension arose as the PM became jealous of Cummings. At a Vote Leave gathering on January 31 last year, the assembled loyalists chanted “Dom, Dom, Dom”, not “Boris, Boris, Boris”, infuriating the PM. Who was the real boss?
“There have always been two Johnsons: the man who likes to win at all costs and the man who needs to be loved, whose rare political skills bring unlikely people together.” Cummings gels with the former, while Symonds is the latter’s biggest champion. But by accusing his former aide of leaking his texts to James Dyson, Johnson has picked a battle with “a man who takes nuclear weapons to a pillow fight”. They are the two most determined men I have ever met. But, crucially, Cummings knows where No 10 has buried its bodies. A Conservative friend messaged to say: “I think we are now looking at the end of Boris.” Mutually assured destruction? “They may both have already lost.”
Why it matters I’ve said since 2019 the PM must choose between Team Boris and Team Carrie, says Dan Hodges in The Mail on Sunday. Ministers know their careers can be derailed by Symonds’s “whims” or spiked by the No 10 communications team she helped build. “Britain votes for prime ministers, not their partners.” But Johnson didn’t choose, and now his majority government is “eating itself alive”.
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