Dominic Cummings’ exit from Downing Street while holding a large box was “entirely deliberate” as he wanted to “leave an image”, former Brexit secretary David Davis has claimed.
Conservative MP Davis said the senior adviser could have left Number 10 through less visible exits, but instead chose to walk out in front of the waiting press.
Images of Boris Johnson’s right-hand man leaving Downing Street on Friday have been featured heavily across national newspaper front pages, and several topics relating to the pictures have trended widely across social media.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Saturday, Davis said: “Almost certainly Dominic decided he was going to leave an image. That would have been entirely deliberate.
“Just so your viewers know, he could have walked out the back door, which is almost sort of underground, not visible, or he could have walked out of the entrance out of Whitehall. Out of the Cabinet Office. Either would have been possible.
“He chose to leave that image walking out with a box. He could have perfectly well put his coffee mug or whatever else was in it into his rucksack, but he didn’t.”
The BBC reported Cummings’ departure was brought forward because of “upset in the team” at Downing Street and that Johnson wanted to “clear the air and move on”.
Despite the controversy surrounding his departure, and that of Downing Street director of communications Lee Cain, Cummings has said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog”, in which he said he hoped to be “largely redundant” by 2021.
Davis said the image of Cummings leaving would help the PM “reset” the government.
He added: “The photograph will last the weekend and people will remember it, but it’s not the key.
“And at one level, as I said, Boris will want to reset government and in a sense, that photograph does part of the resetting for him.”
There has previously been tension between Cummings and Davis, with the former describing the MP in 2017 as “thick as mince”.
With “staged” trending on Twitter overnight, it appears that many social media users were inclined to agree with Davis.
“I’ve really missed live theatre and I’ll always appreciate site specific works,” wrote one actor.
He added: “One thing I didn’t need to see though is another badly scripted, painfully transparent farce that takes its audience for mugs.”