Chaos as former Vote Leave chief tipped to become PM’s chief of staff

BORIS Johnson is facing criticism from Tory MPs over speculation he could appoint a former Vote Leave campaign chief as his Downing Street chief of staff.

The Prime Minister may appoint Lee Cain, who is currently his communications director, to the pivotal role after criticism from some Tory MPs over how the Government has handled a number of policy and Covid-related situations, it was claimed.

Cain, a former journalist, was a prominent member of the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 EU membership referendum.

He worked with Johnson when he was foreign secretary and was involved in his campaign to succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings is reportedly not interested in obtaining the post of chief of staff.

Johnson has faced criticism from some Tory backbenchers in recent months that the Government’s strategy on dealing with the coronavirus crisis and other issues has not been co-ordinated or thought through enough.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a senior Tory backbencher, said MPs needed somebody to “get hold of” in the seat of power.

Declining to comment on speculation about Cain, Geoffrey said: “I think it is essential for the Prime Minister to have a chief of staff.

“Somebody we can get hold of if we really need to.

“I think it is a good thing that somebody would keep an overall view on it.

“I think it’s important to have a chief of staff.”

The BBC reported suggestions that Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, was “unhappy” about such a move for Cain.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “I’m not going to comment on the speculation today about personnel matters in Number 10 I’m afraid.”

Cain caused a stir earlier in the year when political journalists boycotted a Downing Street briefing after he banned selected reporters, including those from Scottish titles, from attending.

READ MORE: Media boycott after Scottish titles are snubbed by Downing Street

The snub was pointed out by The Scotsman’s former Westminster correspondent Paris Gourtsoyannis after several political reporters and editors from London-based newspapers were also banned from the meeting – which prompted a boycott by many other publications.

Cain tried to exclude reporters from the Mirror, the i, HuffPost, PoliticsHome, the Independent and others from an official government briefing. Labour accused Johnson of deploying Donald Trump-like tactics to avoid scrutiny.

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