Who is Dominic Cummings? How a Man's Volcanic Revenge Destroyed British PM Boris Johnson

Barely two weeks after pledging to be in power in Britain until the mid-2030s, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned, leaving a tattered legacy behind after coming to power three years ago with an enviable mandate. Johnson is departing after having failed to douse the dumpster fire his government had become in the recent months. A host of factors, and people, contributed to the spectacular downfall of Johnson. However, one name needs special mention. It's Dominic Cummings, Johnson's ex-aide and confidante, who notoriously ignited the dumpster fire that overwhelmed Johnson.

From Top Adviser to Bitterest Enemy

Johnson sacked Cummings in November 2020 in a move that shocked the former top adviser. Cummings had expressed his intention to leave Downing Street by the end of December following a months-long media trial over his breach of the Covid-19 lockdown rules. However, the manner of his sacking left him embittered as Johnson ordered him and his close ally Lee Cain to leave the Downing Street with immediate effect.

Dominic Cummings
Dominic Cummings Wikimedia Commons

"Cummings was not planning to go in this abrupt manner, but he was planning to go [at some point]. He had made that clear to several people in No 10 over several months," a source had told the Guardian at that time.

Since then, the friend-turned-foe has been Johnson's bitterest enemy. In early 2021 Cummings squarely blamed Johnson for the high number of deaths in the coronavirus pandemic. The former top aide, who Johnson depended the most, told a parliamentary committee that "when the public needed us most the government failed."

Blaming Johnson for all Covid-19 Deaths

As British MPs listened with shock, Cummings said Johnson delayed enforcing lockdowns, a decision that cost lives in thousands. According to Cummings, Johnson said he was okay with seeing [dead] "bodies pile high" rather than enforcing more lockdowns.

The government was taken aback by Cummings' betrayal and Johnson never recovered politically from that frontal assault. The Times cited a government source saying that Cummings was "motivated by revenge" and that his comments represented a character assassination'.

However, Cummings, who was enraged Johnson's wife Carrie Symonds allegedly blocked the promotion of his close aide Cain as of staff, kept spitting fire at regular interludes.

Boris Johnson
UK PM Boris Johnson in hospital Wikimedia commons

In April 2021 Cummings said Johnson was 'mad and totally unethical' and charged him with trying to quash a leak inquiry that implicated one of his allies.

Raking Up Partygate Scandal

Cummings was equally effective in adding fire to the 'partygate' scandal which turned out to be one of the biggest setbacks for Johnson. Cummings wrote in a January 2021 blog post that Johnson had shown extreme insensitivity in attending the drinks party at the Downing Street when the country was in lockdown.

"Amid discussion over the future of the Cabinet Secretary and PPS himself, which had been going on for days, I said to the PM something like: 'Martin's invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I'm talking about, you've got to grip this madhouse'. The PM waved it aside," Cummings wrote.

Ironically, Johnson had helped Cummings stay in his role at the Downing Street following clamor for his head after it was reported that the top aide had broken lockdown rules and undertaken a road trip. This happened five months before his eventual exit, and political observers noted that Johnson would have gained a lot of political mileage by sacking Cummings at the start of that vicious news cycle.

Personal Attack

Now, Cummings went for the jugular, openly demanding Johnson's resignation and stoking anti-government sentiments among the Tory back-benchers. He even gloated that it was his duty to get Johnson ousted and likened the task to 'fixing the drains".

Cummings went on to describe Johnson as a self-obsessed 'fu*kwit who lost the political and policy mooring.

Fueled by revenge, the former aide openly admitted that his game against Johnson was not a moral-driven campaign. "What's fairness got to do with anything? It's politics. All this is not fair. The fact that someone wins an election doesn't mean that they should just stay there for years, right? If you've got a duffer, if you think someone can't do the job, or is unfit for the job," he said, admitting that principles of fairness won't hold him back from attacking Johnson.

Boris Johnson resigns
Boris Johnson announcing his resignation as the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street Twitter

"You know, as he said to me: 'I'm the f**king king around here and I'm going to do what I want.' That's not OK. He's not the king. He can't do what he wants. Once you realise someone is operating like that then your duty is to get rid of them, not to just prop them up," he added.

Revels in Johnson's Downfall

After new broke that Johnson was resigning, Cummings said the PM should be escorted out of No.10 Downing Street immediately by the police. Referring to Johnson's plan to stay on as caretaker prime minister for the next few months, Cummings said that arrangement would cause a "carnage".

"Cabinet ministers shd talk to Brady this a.m, agree Raab as interim PM, then speak to Cabinet Secretary and get him to fix with Palace... Tell [PM] you either resign and leave today or the Queen will dismiss, appoint Raab, & cops escort you from building. [PM] will fold Game over. Evict TODAY or he'll cause CARNAGE, even now he's playing for time & will try to stay. No 'dignity', no 'interim while leadership contest'. Raab shd be interim PM by evening."