The vicious civil war on Downing Street escalated again today as insiders voiced anger over “vicious and cowardly” attacks on Carrie Symonds – including fears that she would want to be the “new Princess Diana”.
The wave of negative briefings threatens to tear the government apart, with complaints from the Vote Leave faction that the prime minister's fiancée is trying to lead WhatsApp's government out of apartment 11.
It turns out that Dominic Cummings' allies and former communications director Lee Cain have been calling Ms. Symonds the "Princess Nut Nut" for months.
There have also been dire warnings that the departure of the key workers marks the "beginning of the end" for Mr. Johnson.
One told the mail on Sunday: “You can smell it. It's the end of the days. It's a story as old as time. The mad queen destroys the court. & # 39;
But Ms. Symonds' allies have insisted that she is a victim of sexism.
The vicious civil war on Downing Street escalated again today after it was alleged that Dominic Cummings' allies had accused the Prime Minister's fiancée of wanting to be the "new Princess Diana".
Friends of Dominic Cummings (picture leaving number 10 on Friday) and Lee Cain, the Vote Leave duo who resigned last week after losing a power struggle with the prime minister's fiancé, said they had the ability – and the desire – questioned by Mr. Johnson remain in No. 10
Boris 'loyalists plan to use the two aides' departure as an opportunity to rebuild both Operation No. 10 under a new chief of staff and Mr Johnson's relations with his fragile parliamentary party.
Last week's war of words broke out after Mr Johnson attempted a reshuffle to prevent Mr Cain from arguing with Allegra Stratton, the public face of Downing Street's new daily television press set to begin in the new year.
After Mr Cain offered to step down over Ms. Stratton's demands for independent access to the prime minister, Mr Johnson discussed moving him to a new position as chief of staff – just for Ms. Symonds to play a pivotal role in a party uprising against the plan.
Ms. Symonds, a friend of Ms. Stratton's, declined to appoint Mr. Cain for a number of reasons, including an alleged "macho culture" that he instilled.
Boris Johnson's ousted aides have privately predicted the "beginning of the end" for the Prime Minister after an extraordinary dispute over the influence of Carrie Symonds (pictured with the Prime Minister in March).
Mr Cummings tried to save Mr Cain by threatening to resign as well, but his actions were in vain: he left Downing Street for the last time with a box on Friday night.
No. 10 denied reports that the couple had been appointed to brief Ms. Symonds – including the use of the offensive term "Princess Nut Nut".
Mr Johnson feared the couple would “poison” the fountain if they were allowed to stay at work until the end of the year as originally planned and were on garden vacation until mid-December.
Prime Minister's allies fear that Mr Cummings will now set up a guerrilla operation with his former allies on voting leave to destabilize his operation and pave the way for Mr Sunak's successor.
One member of this group said last night, “It's the beginning of the end. Boris lost the room. & # 39;
It has been reported that Mr Cummings had told allies the Prime Minister was "undecided" and it was often left to senior minister Michael Gove to fill the leadership vacuum.
Sir Edward Lister, a longtime advisor to Mr. Johnson, becomes Chief of Staff on an interim basis.
After Mr Cain (pictured) offered to resign over Ms. Stratton's request for independent access to the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson discussed moving him to a new position as Chief of Staff – only to give Ms. Symonds a vital role in a party uprising against the Plan plays
Another high-ranking figure at the Vote Leave Camp added, "The feeling is that Rishi's time is drawing near" – a reference to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's thinly veiled leadership ambitions.
But a friend of Ms. Symonds struck back, describing the criticism of her influence on Mr. Johnson as "misogyny" and deciphering the "vitriol and bitterness" directed against her.
And a senior # 10 source told the Sunday Telegraph the allegations were "cowardly, malicious and designed to harm you."
It's nut nut not nut nuts!
"Princess Nut Nuts," the gruesome nickname for Carrie Symonds used by Dominic Cummings' allies, has been circulating among insiders since Boris Johnson's early days on Downing Street, sources told The Mail on Sunday.
But reports of the arch that went viral on social media last week have a bug.
“It's Princess Nut Nut,” a source said before revealing that Ms. Symonds's opponents used a special abbreviation for the nickname in text messages during last year's election campaign – a princess emoji followed by two peanuts.
Ms. Symonds's opponents reportedly used the name "Princess Nut Nut" so many times that they began using an emoji of a princess followed by two peanuts in place of words in text messages
Ms. Symonds has been reportedly referred to as the "princess" because her enemies claimed it was royal behavior, while the "nut" is considered a tasteless joke of her "madness".
Concerns about "Laddic" culture were raised on Downing Street under Mr. Cummings.
Multiple sources said staff were hoping the shake at the top of # 10 would lead to a more respectful environment.
Friends of Ms Symonds say she has no regrets about turning down Mr Cain's appointment because she believes "a more diverse group of voices" should advise the Prime Minister.
One said last night: “Surely it is in the prime minister's interest that he hear from a number of people?
“This way you can work more fairly and more successfully. What man would not ask his informed partner for his opinion on something work-related, especially if it is a world he has known for many years. & # 39;
Describing the attacks on Ms. Symonds as “misogyny,” the friends added: “The idea that she is a woman and should therefore not have a voice is unfair.
"The vitriol and the bitterness toward her were very special … No. 10 was devoid of older women and the more rounded opinions they offer."
A cabinet minister said: “The reality is that this lot probably arrived at the end of the street a long time ago. I am convinced that Boris knows in his heart that he should have got rid of Cummings from Barnard Castle right now.
“He pointed it out with an almost sigh. "Things I would have done differently" – it's on that list.
“Anyone would have endured if Cummings could see round corners. It was his great strength to see forensically where the attitudes of the public were. The moment he lost that, his value dropped to zero.
He couldn't see what the story of Barnard Castle was doing, he couldn't see where the free school meals were going. Most of the time he misunderstood the big decisions. & # 39;
The Minister added: “The Prime Minister should not be involved in any of this. It should go on beyond his sight. And the fact that he got drawn into this matter and was involved in discussions with everyone including his girlfriend is probably not the best use of his time or talents. We all know Boris hates that kind of cr * p. & # 39;
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings' relationship had "fallen off a cliff". The former Brexit secretary, described by Mr Cummings as "thick as ground beef" in 2017, added: "Once that's gone, it's gone."
Mr Davis added, "Boris will want to reset the government … He will need a new chief of staff who will have to be extremely efficient but not extremely political.
"He has to find someone who doesn't have an agenda of his own."
How the battle to defend the number 10 in daily television press conferences sparked the feud between Lee Cain and Carrie Symonds
The focal point for the feud between Lee Cain and Carrie Symonds was the audition for Boris Johnson's new press secretary, who will have the enviable role of defending the government in daily television press conferences in the New Year.
From the start, the Prime Minister – supported by his fiancée – was keen to appoint Allegra Stratton, a well-connected and experienced broadcaster who has worked for BBC Newsnight and ITV News.
Mr. Johnson made frequent calls to Ms. Stratton while she was considering the offer and asked for her name to appear.
From the start, the Prime Minister – supported by his fiancée – wanted to appoint Allegra Stratton (pictured), a well-connected and experienced broadcaster who has worked for BBC Newsnight and ITV News
It was also promised to add money from Tory Party Funds to her government salary of £ 125,000 a year so that she could claim parity with the £ 140,000 salary packages of Mr Cain and Dominic Cummings.
It is also understood that Mr Johnson made a promise to Ms. Stratton that she will not be the subject of a focus group assessment, which causes her to object if Mr Cain insists.
The results were used by Mr Cain to discuss the case for Ms. Stratton's closest rival for the job, BBC political journalist Ellie Price.
Mr. Cain said the focus groups found Ms. Stratton too "aggressive" when she showed her answers to incorrect media questions through the selection panel.
The results were used by Mr Cain to discuss the case for Ms. Stratton's closest rival for the job, BBC political journalist Ellie Price (pictured).
He also argued to colleagues that Ms. Price appeared more relaxed under pressure. Mr. Cain's reservations meant that there was inevitable tension when Ms. Stratton got the job.
He then proposed to Ms. Stratton that Ms. Price serve as her deputy.
Ms. Stratton turned it down, fearing that Ms. Price would be substituted on her behalf if she refused to follow "scripts" proposed by Mr. Cain or Mr. Cummings. Friends say Ms. Stratton was shaken by the civil war that broke out over her appointment.
A friend said, “The past three weeks have been a nightmare for Allegra.
“It was clear from the start that she and Lee would not be able to work together. Lee always looked like he was about to rip her head off. & # 39;
As the network approaches the & # 39; Chatty Council & # 39; behind the Covid-19 leak? Officials are 90 percent certain that one of Michael Gove's team warned newspapers that Boris Johnson would order a new ban, a high-ranking source claims
By Glen Owen and Anna Mikhailova
Advisors who work for Michael Gove are at the center of an investigation by the Chatty Rat, whose cabinet leak has forced the Prime Minister to announce the new lockdown early.
A senior government source told The Mail on Sunday that the leak investigation officials were 90 percent sure that one of Mr. Gove's team warned newspapers that Boris would order a new lockdown – before making the final decision to do so this.
It sparked a dispute over arranging a special press conference on Saturday to make the announcement backed by Mr Gove as a pro lockdown pigeon.
A senior government source told The Mail on Sunday that the leak investigation officials were 90 percent certain that one of the teams (pictured) from Mr Gove's newspapers warned Boris was about to order a new lockdown
Last night, however, a Cabinet Office source denied that "one person" was "singled out" and warned that "concrete conclusions may prove elusive".
The source – who said the investigation is expected to be completed within 14 days – also denied claims that technical experts ruled that the Gove consultant deleted call and message records from the Friday night in question, October 30th.
Last week, this newspaper revealed that senior ministers including Mr Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock were ordered to surrender their phones when No. 10 hunted the mole.
Both ministers were questioned forensically – and both deny any wrongdoing. Mr. Hancock complained to No. 10 that he was wrongly held responsible for the leak.
Senior ministers including Mr Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) were ordered to hand over their phones when No. 10 searched for the mole
In comments reflecting the divisions that have shaken the heart of the government over the past few weeks, an ally of Mr. Hancock said, “No one has done more to bow back and ingratiate themselves with the Vote Leave people than Matt , and she still hate him. & # 39;
Tory MPs said the name of the "talkative rat," as they were called, is never revealed when rumors are true that the leak came from Downing Street.
One MP said this was linked to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle saying on the floor of the house that he had received assurances from ministers that No. 10 was not responsible.
Prior to resigning as communications director last week, Lee Cain was forced to deny MPs' claims that he was the leak and told friends he had been ruled as a suspect by Simon Case, the investigating cabinet secretary.
One MP said this was linked to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured) on the floor of the house saying he had received assurances from ministers that No. 10 was not responsible
Sir Lindsay told MPs after news of the national lockdown became known: “After speaking to the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the House (Jacob Rees-Mogg) who went to great lengths to assure me that the leaks were not coming out Downing Street, I expect the Prime Minister to keep the house informed of his leak investigation. & # 39;
The MP said if the treat was later identified as being from No. 10, it would cause trouble for Mr Rees-Mogg and the Prime Minister.
A cabinet minister added: "Nobody wanted to acknowledge it because knowing about it creates almost a bigger problem than if you don't know."
A cabinet spokesman said, “We can confirm that a leak investigation is in progress. As usual, it would not be appropriate to leave any further comments. & # 39;
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Carrie Symonds (t) Dominic Cummings (t) Boris Johnson