Michael Gove has been accused of orchestrating the dismissal of the prime minister’s chief adviser on the union in an attempt to keep his position at the heart of the government.
Multiple British government sources told The Telegraph that Mr Gove, an advisor to the Duchy of Lancaster, was the mastermind of Oliver Lewis’s dramatic exit from Downing Street on Friday after he became concerned that he would be sidelined by the prime minister.
Lewis, a close ally of Dominic Cummings, resigned from his job as head of Union No. 10 after only two weeks in office, after a bitter power struggle with Goff’s supporters made his position “unacceptable,” the sources claimed.
Allegedly, Carrie Symonds, the prime minister’s fiancée, and Henry Newman, another Downing Street advisor, accused Mr. Lewis of informing the newspapers that Gove’s influence was diminishing as he lost his responsibility for managing relations with the European Union to Lord Frost.
Both deny the claim, but it is understood that Johnson summoned Lewis Thursday to reprimand him for speaking to reporters, something Lewis denies.
Mr. Goff’s summary this week has been shortened to include Union issues and civil service reform After Lord Frost, the architect of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, He was appointed Minister of the Council of Ministers for European Union Affairs.
This came after Mr. Lewis replaced Luke Graham, a Gove supporter and former Conservative MP, as head of the union unit two weeks ago. Sources said Mr. Gove believed Lewis was also trying to remove responsibility for the union’s governmental strategy from the memorandum, weakening his role in government.
The people who implemented the policy were moving out of the cabinet office [Mr Gove’s department] To No. 10, “a source said.
“You have Henry Newman trying to regain control. Michael seemed to have cut his wings slightly due to Frost’s movement, and it looked like his wings had been clipped again two weeks ago with Oliver taking charge.”
Another Whitehall source said that Goff disagreed with Lewis’ new Union strategy, and had used Mr. Newman at Downing Street to prevent it by forcing him to resign.
“If you have different views from Henry Newman and others moving up to the tenth, who have the same Union view as Michael Gove, then you’ve got a clash because for Oliver to do his job effectively, he would need to veto Michael, the source said.”
“If you have a lot of Goveites running # 10, that gets more difficult.
Other sources described the conflict as a battle between Mr. Gove, Ms. Symonds and Mr. Newman in one camp, and Cummings’ supporters in another. A source in the British government said: “Some of the things about Carrie were totally unfair and felt sexist to me.”
Newman is a close friend of the Prime Minister’s fiancée, and was assigned to Downing Street this week alongside Baroness Finn, Gove’s ex-girlfriend and another friend of Mrs. Symonds.
Mr. Lewis is a close ally of Dominic Cummings, with whom he worked on the Leave the Vote campaign.
It is now understood that the remaining officials who supported Mr. Cummings in government are weighing their position with the expectation that they “could be next”, after Mr. Lewis’s resignation and the departure of Mr. Cummings and Lee Kane, former Johnson Communications Director, Who were forced out at the end of last year.
A source close to Mr. Gove vehemently denied having any role in Mr. Lewis’ departure, and insisted that he was “shocked” when he heard the news of his resignation and had not previously disagreed with him on Union policy.
This is categorically incorrect. The source said that Michael did not do so at all. “They worked well together.”
A Downing Street source said, “Michael is a completely integral part of the government and one of the ministers most trusted in the prime minister.”
In response to a question about whether Mr. Gove orchestrated the dismissal of Mr. Lewis, the source replied: “I do not know this description of the situation.”
Ms Symonds’ allies said she does not attend government meetings or receive internal government emails, and indicated that it is customary for the prime minister’s wife to provide informal advice.