Dominic Cummings departure from 10 Downing Street, following a row with Boris Johnson, has delighted Michel Barnier who now believes that Britain will 'cave' in to the EU's demands.
Cummings, who many saw as the architect of Brexit, was seen leaving Downing Street Friday afternoon following a meeting with Boris Johnson at which Johnson is said to have wanted to 'clear the air'. The 1pm meeting, held behind closed doors, was said by some Downing Street insiders to be "explosive" and had revolved around Johnson's fiancee who had raised concerns about Cummings in the weeks leading up to the meeting.
Several Conservative MP's have spoken out since Cummings' departure, suggesting that he had too much power and influence over Johnson. Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Mr Cummings' influence had led to "a ramshackle operation in the hands of one man". Whilst David Davis said Mr Cummings had a "very confrontational-style" which had turned people in Downing Street against him. In an interview with Radio 4 he went on to say: "Lots of my colleagues are hoping for a new relationship - with more openness and interaction with Parliament - and I am told the cabinet is hoping to get more say, as it were, in events."
EU Negotiator Michel Barnier greeted the news of Cummings departure with some delight, commenting to his aids that he believed "Johnson will cave" to his demands now that Cummings has gone.
Talks with the EU on a future trade deal were at deadlock, with less than a week to get an agreement in place so it can be ratified before the end of the transition period on January 1.
The UK had been holding-out against demands from Michel Barnier on control of fishing rights, as well as accepting EU rules on state aid and the environment.
Other senior figures in Brussels have also been gloating that news of Cummings departure could be the start of a climbdown to get a post-Brexit trade deal. Senior MEP Philippe Lamberts said it was "probably the sign that Johnson has begun his u-turn and will in the end accept EU conditions"
The idea that Cummings departure signals a u-turn in Brexit strategy from Downing Street was echoed by Nigel Farage who said: departure of Johnson’s top aide from Downing Street means a “Brexit sell-out” is looming. Brexit Party leader Farage said he had never liked the prime minister’s outgoing chief adviser, but admitted he was concerned about the consequences of his departure.
Farage tweeted: “It is well documented that I have never liked Dominic Cummings but he has backed Brexit. Seeing him leave Number 10 carrying a cardboard box tells me a Brexit sell-out is close.”