Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s director of communications resigned on Wednesday (November 11), a move that suggested tension at the heart of government as Britain prepares to complete its Brexit journey out of the European Union.
Lee Cain has been a loyal ally of the Prime Minister, working for him since he was foreign minister until 2018 and then staying by his side, sometimes without pay, when Johnson resigned over his predecessor Theresa May’s Brexit plans.
Cain is also close to Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings after working with him in the Vote Leave campaign to quit the EU, a partnership that was reborn in Downing Street when the Conservatives won a big election victory last year.
But sources have suggested there has been tension in Johnson’s Number 10 Downing Street office since the government’s communications strategy was criticised by Conservative lawmakers for being slow and confusing during the coronavirus crisis.
Cain was one of a few in Downing Street who helped drive the Prime Minister’s Brexit agenda, but his sometimes pugnacious style could alienate others.
Some lawmakers in the governing party accuse him and Cummings for running Downing Street like a campaign bunker, sometimes ignoring the thoughts of the party.