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Cummings: ‘I looked into replacing Boris Johnson as PM weeks after 2019 election win’

·3-min read

Watch: UK Prime Minister resisted lockdown - former aide

Former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings said he was looking to oust Boris Johnson as Prime Minister only weeks after helping him secure an 80-seat majority.

Mr Cummings, who left No 10 in the autumn after a power struggle, accused Mr Johnson of not having a plan and said he "doesn't know how to be Prime Minister".

In an interview with the BBC, the Vote Leave mastermind said he assisted the Conservative Party poll victory in December 2019 in order to settle the Brexit debate rather than due to any firm belief in his leadership.

Mr Cummings also laid bare the extent of the fractious relationship between former Vote Leave officials and Mr Johnson's now-wife, Carrie Johnson only weeks after the landslide win.

We were already saying by the summer either we’ll all have gone from here or we’ll be in the process of trying to get rid of himDominic Cummings

"Before even mid-January we were having meetings in Number 10 saying it's clear that Carrie (Johnson) wants rid of all of us," said the former de facto chief of staff.

"At that point we were already saying by the summer either we'll all have gone from here or we'll be in the process of trying to get rid of him and get someone else in as Prime Minister."

Mr Cummings claimed that in 2019, ahead of the election, Mrs Johnson was happy to have Vote Leave officials working in Downing Street, but this later changed.

He said: "As soon as the election was won her view was, 'why should it be Dominic and the Vote Leave team?' Why shouldn't it be me that's pulling the strings?"'

In comments due to be aired on Tuesday evening, Mr Cummings was less than complimentary about Mr Johnson's vision for the country.

He added: "He doesn't have a plan, he doesn't know how to be Prime Minister and we only got him in there because we had to solve a certain problem not because he was the right person to be running the country."

It comes hours after Downing Street flatly denied Mr Cummings' allegation that Mr Johnson wanted to visit the Queen early in the pandemic despite coronavirus having hit No 10.

The former chief aide in No 10 alleged that he had to convince the Prime Minister out of visiting her by warning of the potentially grave consequences.

Watch: 'Johnson wanted to visit Queen in person despite Covid concerns'

But the PM’s official spokesman said: "This didn't happen and we've been clear about that."

Mr Johnson ultimately took a 15-month break from his face-to-face weekly audience with the Queen after meeting her on March 11 2020 and they instead spoke on the phone.

But Mr Cummings, who has been engaged in a war of words with Mr Johnson since leaving No 10 in November, alleged Mr Johnson wanted to visit her a week later, on March 18.

This was five days before Mr Johnson announced the first lockdown on March 23 and he went on to test positive himself for Covid-19 later that month.

Mr Cummings, who has repeatedly accused the Prime Minister of being too slow to impose the November 5 lockdown, alleged the Prime Minister was reluctant to heighten restrictions because "the people who are dying are essentially all over 80".

The hostile former chief adviser to Mr Johnson accused his one-time boss of putting "his own political interests ahead of people's lives".

Asked if Mr Cummings was right in alleging that, the Prime Minister's spokesman flatly responded: "No."

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