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What does the turmoil in Downing Street mean for Britain? - podcast

Boris Johnson has gotten rid of his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his director of communications, Lee Cain. Katy Balls explains what it means for Brexit and the government’s handling of the Covid crisis

Less than a year ago, Boris Johnson was returned to Downing Street as a Conservative prime minister with the biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher. It was a victory that seemed to vindicate his decision to bring highly controversial figures from the successful Vote Leave campaign of 2016 into the heart of his operation. Now, after a year of chaos and crisis, two of the most high profile figures have departed amid a blaze of infighting and recriminations.

The political journalist Katy Balls tells Anushka Asthana how things changed quickly in recent weeks. While Boris Johnson had protected his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, from calls to resign in the summer, now he has decided to let him go, along with the director of communications, Lee Cain. It leaves a vacuum at the heart of Downing Street that some believe is now being filled by Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, (a one-time Tory spin doctor herself) and his new press secretary Allegra Stratton. What will it mean for the looming Brexit deadline, the response to the Covid crisis and the solemn promises of a new kind of politics to voters in former “red wall” seats in the north of England and the Midlands?

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