Boris Johnson ‘accuses Dominic Cummings of being the ‘Chatty Rat’ who leaked PM’s texts to Sir James Dyson’
- An internal inquiry has been launched into how the PM’s messages were leaked
- But reports said Downing Street sources are pointing the finger at Mr Cummings
- The adviser quit No 10 in November following behind the scenes power struggle
Boris Johnson has accused his former aide Dominic Cummings of being the ‘Chatty Rat’ who leaked his private texts, reports say.
The Prime Minister is said to have pointed the finger at the Vote Leave mastermind, who quit Downing Street in November after a power struggle.
Mr Johnson reportedly thinks Mr Cummings was ‘bitter’ following his swift exit from No 10 – but was ‘saddened’ about the messages being dished out to reporters.
Three national newspapers all reported comments from an insider naming the Brexit supremo as the ‘Chatty Rat’.
An internal inquiry has been launched into how messages between the Prime Minister and billionaire Sir James Dyson were leaked to journalists.
An internal inquiry has been launched into how messages between the Prime Minister (pictured on Thursday) and billionaire Sir James Dyson were leaked to journalists
Reports said Downing Street sources are pointing the finger at Mr Cummings (pictured last month), who quit as the Prime Minister’s senior adviser last year following a behind the scenes power struggle in No 10
A No 10 source told the Sun Mr Johnson ‘fears Dom was responsible for the text message leaks about James Dyson and Mohammed bin Salman’
A source told the Times: ‘Dominic is engaged in systematic leaking. We are disappointed about that.
‘We are concerned about messages from private WhatsApp groups which have very limited circulation.’
The source suggested the Prime Minister was ‘saddened’ and Mr Cummings was ‘bitter’ after his exit from No 10.
The texts to Sir James, where the PM promised he would ‘fix’ a tax issue for staff developing ventilators, was not the first time his messages have been made public.
Mr Johnson was sent a text message by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a bid to buy Newcastle United ran into difficulties last June
A No 10 source told the Sun Mr Johnson ‘fears Dom was responsible for the text message leaks about James Dyson and Mohammed bin Salman’.
The Telegraph said it is understood Mr Cummings would have had legitimate access to the messages while he worked at No 10.
A source told the newspaper: ‘If you join the dots it looks like it’s coming from Dom.’ Mr Cummings has not responded to the accusations.
The source suggested the Prime Minister was ‘saddened’ and Mr Cummings was ‘bitter’ after his exit from No 10. They are pictured together in 2019
Mr Johnson was sent a text message by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a bid to buy Newcastle United ran into difficulties last June. Pictured: 2018
The former Vote Leave mastermind worked closely with Mr Johnson on the Brexit campaign and was a major figure in No 10 after the Prime Minister took office.
The PM stood by him after Mr Cummings found himself in the eye of a media storm after driving his family to County Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.
But Mr Cummings was later ousted from No 10 amid the fallout from an internal power struggle with the Prime Minister’s fiancee Carrie Symonds.
No 10 had initially said there would not be a probe into how the exchange with Sir James was made public.
But a change of course was announced on Thursday as it said an internal inquiry will be led by the Cabinet Office.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: ‘I can confirm that, yes, we have instructed the Cabinet Office to look into this.
‘The position has changed from yesterday – it was correct at the time yesterday but, as usual, we keep things under review and we have now decided to undertake this internal inquiry.
‘As you would expect, we continually look at this and the position we decided today is that we want to make sure we have this internal inquiry into that.’
Mr Cummings was later ousted from No 10 amid the fallout from an internal power struggle with the Prime Minister’s fiancee Carrie Symonds (pictured with her dog in 2019)
The spokesman confirmed the inquiry will examine the source of leaks of Mr Johnson’s private communication ‘as related to this issue of Dyson’.
Text exchange between Boris Johnson and Sir James Dyson over the tax status of his employees
Dyson: ‘We are ready. But nobody seems to want us to proceed. Sadly, James’
Johnson: ‘I will fix it tomo! We need you. It looks fantastic’
Johnson: ‘Rishi says it is fixed!! We need you here’
Dyson: ‘Thanks! I will give the ventilator our all. James’
Dyson: ‘Dear Boris, I’m afraid that we need a response to our letter below from Rishi please? We really need Rishi to answer the letter we sent (attached) – now. Or to make the position clear. Rishi has fixed the Country Day Count issue but not Work Days. The former is now covered under an ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ umbrella, Work Days are not. So, he has freed up your ability to be in the UK but not to work there – even in support of this National emergency.’
Johnson: ‘James I am first lord of the treasury and you can take it that we are backing you to do what you need.’
Just two weeks later, Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs that those coming into the UK to offer help during the pandemic would not see a change in their tax status.
The BBC reported the messages between Mr Johnson and Sir James were exchanged in March last year after the businessman was unable to get the assurances he was seeking from the Treasury.
Sir James, who has changed his main address in business filings to the UK from Singapore, wrote to the Treasury requesting his staff would not have to pay additional tax if they came to the UK to work on the ventilator project.
But when he failed to receive a reply, Sir James reportedly took up the matter directly with the Prime Minister.
He said in a text the firm was ready but ‘sadly’ it seemed no-one wanted them to proceed. Mr Johnson replied: ‘I will fix it tomo! We need you. It looks fantastic.’
The Prime Minister then texted him again saying: ‘(Chancellor) Rishi (Sunak) says it is fixed!! We need you here.’
Two weeks later, Mr Sunak told the Commons Treasury Committee the tax status of people who came to the UK to provide specific help during the pandemic would not be affected.
Downing Street said it will publish correspondence between Mr Johnson and Sir James ‘shortly’.
It came after the Prime Minister told the Commons he was ‘happy to share all the details’ of the exchanges.
The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister said in the House he’s happy to share all the details with the House, as he shared them with his officials.
‘That’s what we’re working on, we’re pulling together that information, it will be published shortly.’
Meanwhile, the spokesman did not deny reports Cabinet Secretary Simon Case advised Mr Johnson to change his phone number over concerns about the ease with which lobbyists and business leaders were able to contact him.
The spokesman told Westminster reporters: ‘We don’t get into details of the advice provided between a Cabinet Secretary and a Prime Minister, and so I’m not going to do that in this instance.’
Source: Read Full Article