In Brief

Aide ‘frogmarched out of No. 10’ after Cummings clash

Sonia Khan had reportedly been accused of leaking Brexit secrets

A senior Treasury aide was “frogmarched out of Downing Street” after allegedly leaking Brexit secrets to allies of Philip Hammond.

The Daily Mail reports that Sonia Khan, the former chancellor's special adviser, was shown the door after a furious confrontation with the prime minister’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings.

When the controversial Cummings accused her of helping Hammond and other Conservative MPs attempting to block a no-deal Brexit, Khan denied the allegations. Cummings demanded that she show him her phone and, according to government sources, an angry exchange ensued.

An official says Cummings told Khan that she was dismissed and said that her Whitehall security pass was cancelled with immediate effect. “The cops marched her out of No. 10 while she protested her innocence. It was incredible,” the official said.

There is no love lost between Cummings and Hammond. Earlier this month, Hammond complained that Boris Johnson is allowing “unelected people” to “pull the strings” in Downing Street. The Independent said his remarks were “seen as an attack on Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson's top policy adviser”.

Just days ago, Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would be just as much of a “betrayal” as not leaving the European Union. He also accused Downing Street aides of smearing former ministers by suggesting they had released details of Operation Yellowhammer.

Last night’s angry showdown, which The Guardian says underlines “Johnson’s ruthless approach,” comes weeks after the leaking of no-deal preparations. A dossier, which predicted food, fuel and medicine shortages if Britain left without a deal, appeared in the Sunday Times on 18 August.

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