Dominic Cummings 'fingered by MI5 over Chatty Rat leak'

How Dominic Cummings was fingered by MI5 over ‘Chatty Rat’ leak: Probe by security services into WhatsApp messages sent after key top-level meeting ‘show ex-aide was responsible’ claim opponents

Dominic Cummings was fingered as the prime suspect in the ‘chatty rat’ leak row by an investigation carried out by the security services, it was revealed today.

Opponents of the Prime Minister’s former right-hand man say that MI5 has examined records of WhatsApp messages sent from the Cabinet room in No10 after a meeting to discuss whether to bring in a new lockdown.

Those plans were later leaked to the press than night, forcing Mr Johnson to bring forward an announcement that a four-week closure would happen in November. 

According to the Sunday Times, only one message was send from the room after the meeting in late October, and the evidence gathered by spooks points the figure at Mr Cummings.

Six people were present at the meeting, Johnson, Cummings, comms chief Lee Cain,  two officials and another aide.

The paper said that MI5 had established one person had two sim cards linked to them – a suggestion they had a personal as well as work-linked phone on them – at the time, and that that was Mr Cummings.

Opponents of the Prime Minister’s former right-hand man say that MI5 has examined records of WhatsApp messages sent from the Cabinet room in No10 after a meeting to discuss whether to bring in a new lockdown.

The former chief aide, who quit in November, has denied being the ‘chatty rat’ and on Friday accused Henry Newman (centre), a No10 adviser and close friend of Carrie Symonds (right), of being the most likely culprit.

 

The former chief aide, who quit in November, has denied being the ‘chatty rat’ and on Friday accused Henry Newman, a No10 adviser and close friend of Carrie Symonds, of being the most likely culprit. 

‘Last year there was a meeting between the PM, Cabinet Secretary, the Director of Communications and me regarding the leak of the decision for a further lockdown on the Friday evening immediately after the meeting in the Cabinet Room that made the decision (known in the media as ‘the chatty rat story’),’ Mr Cummings wrote.

‘The Cabinet Secretary told the PM that the leak was neither me nor the then Director of Communications (Lee Cain) and that ”all the evidence definitely leads to Henry Newman and others in that office, I’m just trying to get the communications data to prove it”. 

‘The PM was very upset about this. He said to me afterwards, ”If Newman is confirmed as the leaker then I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends … [pause] perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?”

‘I told him that this was ”mad” and totally unethical, that he had ordered the inquiry himself and authorised the Cabinet Secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak.

‘I told him that he could not possibly cancel an inquiry about a leak that affected millions of people, just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends.’

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss today said that the probe into the chatty rat saga had yet to be completed.

‘The leak inquiry is ongoing and of course, I hope that it finds who the individual was who conducted this leak because it is very, very unhelpful when confidential information is leaked from the government.’

She added: ‘As I said before, this is tittle-tattle that’s being promoted and I don’t think it really addresses the key issues that people in Britain care about.’

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