Dominic Cummings departure will not soften Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance, Downing Street insists
Dominic Cummings’ departure will not soften Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance, Downing Street have insisted.
Despite the resignation of Lee Cain and the mooted exit of his Vote Leave ally Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister's spokesman today ruled out any changes to the UK Government’s hardline approach.
His comments come at the end of another week of talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier that failed to reach a trade deal.
Asked about the impact of Mr Cummings and Mr Cain's departures, the PM's spokesman dismissed claims the government could soften its stance.
He said: "Absolutely not. That is simply false.
"The government's position in relation to the future trade agreement negotiations is unchanged - that we want to reach a deal, but it has to be one that fully respects the sovereignty of the United Kingdom."
Talks are still ongoing today, with Britain’s negotiator David Frost set to head to Brussels next week.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "There will be a pause over the weekend and then we are expecting the talks to resume in Brussels on Monday.
"In terms of where we are, the negotiating team are working very hard trying to bridge the significant gaps between us.
"We continue to seek solutions that fully respect UK sovereignty, but the familiar difficult issues remain, including on the so-called level playing field and fisheries."
It comes as Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest party in the European Parliament, claimed the infighting was causing a Brexit stand-off.
The MEP said: "We can also see this as a quite chaotic situation where we don’t have an idea what is really the line in Great Britain.
“We need a clear idea from Boris Johnson now and I think it’s now time for leadership.”
Mr Cummings’ departure is understood to be sparked by Mr Cain’s resignation, with the PM’s chief adviser threatening to quit himself during a tense telephone call with Mr Johnson on Wednesday night.
Senior Tories believe the Vote Leave exodus could see Mr Johnson change tact and seek to reset relations with the devolved administrations.
Conservative MPs have also urged No.10 to use his departure as an opportunity to restore the values of "respect, integrity and trust".
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