Analysis: What next for Dominic Cummings after Lee Cain resignation

So farewell Lee Cain, a man most of the population had not heard of until yesterday, and one the majority will have forgotten about by tomorrow.

Lee Cain resigned last night in a blow to key ally Dominic Cummings
Lee Cain resigned last night in a blow to key ally Dominic Cummings

The Prime Minister's director of communications is out, the latest casualty of Number 10’s efforts to eat itself. Overseeing a triumph of messaging with announcements routinely leaked to papers or briefed before being U-turned, Mr Cain has naturally gone for simply wanting another job.

Within hours of speculation he was due a promotion, he has resigned after three years of loyal service. The row leaves Boris Johnson needing a desperate reshuffle of his top team during the second wave of coronavirus and just weeks out from the harsh reality of a no-deal Brexit.

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A former Mirror Chicken, Mr Cain is a long-time colleague and close ally of the PM’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. The pair worked together at Vote Leave, and speculation has mounted that Mr Cummings could also walk.

Much like the Socialist MPs said to be considering their positions after Jeremy Corbyn lost the whip, the suggestion shows support for his colleague, without actually doing anything about it. No, you jump first.

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Mr Cummings may have lost an ally and a friend, but leaving now would do little to further his goals of getting Brexit done and overhauling the civil service.

He may feel the Vote Leave faction are being marginalised, but walking would only reduce his and their influence.

His next battle will be to retain influence over the PM, who with the appointment of Allegra Stratton as the host of the televised briefings will be the new face of the UK Government.

Her appointment could see less scrutiny on Mr Cummings, who can continue his retreat to working in the shadows, rather than driving out of them to Barnard Castle.

It comes with fears the moves were the former Vote Leave team tightening their grip on Downing Street. Even the possibility sparked a furious backlash, with Tory MPs, ministers and even Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds making their displeasure felt. Having pushed what they could get away with slightly too far, Mr Cummings is now down one key ally.

Mr Cain’s exit is an attempt to salvage the relationship between Tory MPs and No.10. An 80-seat majority is not supposed to see U-turns, rebellions, and angry backbenchers.

Left out in the cold, Mr Cain is the sacrificial lamb for a leadership careering like an oil tanker, slowly turning into another communication crisis.

This is the people’s government, one nation Tory party vowing to build back better, level up, and get Brexit done.

Repeating messaging is one thing, bringing people with you another altogether.

Mr Johnson’s desire to be liked and unify may be at odds with his behaviour, but he retains a nose for bringing people with him who disagree. Matt Hancock ran for leader vowing to stop no deal. Within weeks he joined Mr Johnson’s campaign insisting “the facts have changed”.

While the privately educated Oxford Graduate and Islington resident Mr Cummings boasts of his disdain for the ruling class, ultimately he has to work with them. As Hamilton made clear, winning was easy, young man, governing's harder.

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