Dominic Cummings has accused Boris Johnson of seeking to stop a leak inquiry because it could implicate a close friend of his fiancee, Carrie Symonds.
Newspaper reports, quoting No 10 insiders, said the Prime Minister believed Mr Cummings was the so-called “chatty rat” who leaked plans last autumn for a new coronavirus lockdown in England.
The premature disclosure – on Halloween – was blamed by some Tories for “bouncing” the Prime Minister into shutting down the country again before he was ready to do so.
However, in his explosive blog posting, Mr Cummings said the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case had told Mr Johnson that he had cleared him of any involvement.
Instead, he said that Mr Case had said “all the evidence” pointed to Henry Newman, a special adviser, and “others in that office” – a claim which had made the Prime Minister “very upset”.
“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.
“I refused to try to persuade the Cabinet Secretary to stop the inquiry and instead I encouraged the Cabinet Secretary to conduct the inquiry without any concern for political ramifications.
“I told the Cabinet Secretary that I would support him regardless of where the inquiry led.”