Dominic Cummings has been pictured leaving Downing Street through the front door while carrying a storage box, as he exited the political stage with a theatrical flourish.
Boris Johnson’s top adviser revealed on Thursday night he would be quitting No. 10 by the end if the year following a tumultuous week at the top levels of British government.
But on Friday night he appeared to be leaving earlier than even he suggested and opted to exit through the famous No. 10 front door.
As political commentators pointed out, Cummings could have left via the basement back door or through the Cabinet Office – but instead chose to depart by way of the media stationed outside the PM’s residence.
One Tory MP pointed out to HuffPost UK the photo showed there was a foot ready to slam the door behind Cummings.
They said: “That doesn’t happen normally as the armoured door is pulled from the back. He’s not even out and they are closing it on him. Extraordinary.”
The prime minister’s controversial aide was expected to leave his role by the end of the year following the resignation of his fellow Vote Leave veteran Lee Cain as communications chief.
Cummings insisted to the BBC that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented” after it was suggested he would exit in protest over the treatment of his ally.
But Cummings said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog” in which he said he hoped to be “largely redundant” by 2021.
He now appears to have hastened that exit.
The BBC reported Cummings had stepped down from his role with immediate effect, rather than waiting for the end of the year.
The broadcaster said the controversial aide had spoken to the PM earlier on Friday and it was decided it was best for him to go immediately.
But it is understood Cummings is not formally quitting his job immediately, and he and Cain will continue to work for the PM and No. 10 until mid-December.
A No.10 spokesperson confirmed Sir Edward Lister, a long-standing adviser to Johnson, would take on the role of chief of staff for an interim period pending a permanent appointment to the post.