Ex-aide attacks UK's Boris Johnson in blogpost tirade
London, United kingdom: Following a series of incriminating leaks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former top aide unleashed an unprecedented tirade Friday, saying the Conservative leader lacked "competence and dignity."
Dominic Cummings, who resigned as Johnson's top advisor in December, said on his personal blog that Johnson instructed his staff to lie to the media, attempted to obstruct an investigation, and solicited potentially illegal donations.
In response, a Downing Street spokesperson said "all reportable donations are transparently declared and published", and added: "The PM has never interfered in a government leak inquiry."
Cummings, the divisive brains behind Britain's Brexit referendum in 2016, was appointed Johnson's chief advisor when he took office in July 2019.
He was instrumental in securing a landslide election victory that December, but his regular conflicts with colleagues are said to have resulted in lingering tensions, and he left government a year later.
Cummings was specifically blamed for weakening the government's coronavirus lockout message when he went on a long cross-country trip with his family, saying he and his wife needed support from relatives after both developing Covid-19 symptoms.
Even some Conservatives expressed concern about Cummings' explosive allegations, which were exploited by opposition parties ahead of the May 6 UK-wide local elections.
The Conservatives are battling each other like rats in a sack and sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of sleaze, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said.
"It demonstrates astounding disdain for the country," she said.
Cummings alleged in his blog that the prime minister suggested scuttling the leak investigation because its conclusions could be embarrassing to Johnson's fiancee.
He also mentioned that he had warned Johnson about plans to renovate his Downing Street apartment with Conservative Party donations in an "unethical, stupid, and probably illegal" manner.
Cummings was referring to reports in Friday's newspapers that Johnson's staff blamed the ex-aide for leaking embarrassing text messages, including those that have entangled billionaire inventor James Dyson in a Westminster lobbying scandal.
'Stop the leak investigation?'
At the PM's behest, the Prime Minister's current Director of Communications, Jack Doyle, has made a series of false allegations to the media, Cummings wrote in his lengthy article.
"It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves."
The ex-adviser was blamed for leaking text messages Johnson exchanged with Dyson early last year regarding tax arrangements during the pandemic, according to news sourced to unnamed Downing Street officials on Friday.
It led the government to launch an internal investigation, the latest in a string of Whitehall leaks.
Cummings denied being the leaker, focusing on a crippling revelation of government plans that prompted Johnson to move one phase of lockdown forward last November.
He alleged that Johnson obstructed an earlier internal investigation into the leak after it found the likely suspect.
"I will have to fire him, and this will cause me very serious problems with Carrie as they’re best friends," Cummings said Johnson told him, referring to his fiancee Carrie Symonds.
"Perhaps we could get the Cabinet Secretary to stop the leak inquiry?" he claimed the leader added.
Cummings also detailed alleged discussions he had with Johnson about the controversial refurbishment plans for the prime minister's Downing Street apartment, which he shares with Symonds and their young son.
"The PM stopped speaking to me about this matter in 2020 as I told him I thought his plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal, and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations if conducted in the way he intended," Cummings said.
Following months of controversy, a government minister said in a written parliamentary answer Friday that Johnson had met the costs "out of his own pocket".