Cummings will be out of Downing Street by Xmas

The disquiet caused by a power struggle at the very top of the UK government, which spilled out into the open earlier this week with a high-profile exit from Downing Street, seemed to intensify on Friday as it emerged that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior-most aide is to also resign by Christmas next month.

Dominic Cummings, one of Johnson's most influential and high-profile aides as his Chief Strategy Adviser, has not formally announced his resignation but a Cabinet minister confirmed that he is on his way out.

"He'll be missed... But advisers come and go," UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

"In any government, you require people who are going to shake things up and come up with ideas, and he's actually been that person," he said.

As part of Johnson's top team, Cummings, 48, is widely credited with helping secure the UK Prime Minister's thumping General Election victory in December 2019.

The largely behind-the-scenes influencer found himself in the limelight earlier this year when he was accused of breaching lockdown rules by making a trip from London to the north-east of England, at a time when he feared he could have contracted coronavirus.

There were resounding calls for him to step down or be sacked but he instead hosted a press conference to deny allegations of wrongdoing.

In a blog post in January, Cummings had hinted that he planned to leave his role by the end of the year, saying he hoped to make himself "largely redundant" by then. However, according to sources being quoted across the UK media, the exit of one of his own close allies in Downing Street - Lee Cain as the No. 10 Director of Communications - had precipitated his exit plans.

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