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Dominic Cummings wields axe over Cabinet 'leakers'

Cabinet Ministers suspected of leaking to the media are at the top of Boris Johnson’s hit-list in his next reshuffle, as adviser Dominic Cummings increasingly flexes his political muscles.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland are all nervous about their chances of staying in the Cabinet after the reshuffle, which is expected in the autumn.

The rumoured appearance in No 10 of a whiteboard used to write out the names of those on the move has not helped to calm nerves. 

Cabinet Ministers suspected of leaking to the media are at the top of Boris Johnson’s hit-list in his next reshuffle, as adviser Dominic Cummings (pictured) increasingly flexes his political muscles

Cabinet Ministers suspected of leaking to the media are at the top of Boris Johnson’s hit-list in his next reshuffle, as adviser Dominic Cummings (pictured) increasingly flexes his political muscles

Friends of Ms Truss (pictured) are feeling particularly pessimistic about her career prospects after she was called in to No 10 on Thursday morning for what one source described as ‘a total b******ing’ by Mr Cummings

Friends of Ms Truss (pictured) are feeling particularly pessimistic about her career prospects after she was called in to No 10 on Thursday morning for what one source described as ‘a total b******ing’ by Mr Cummings

Friends of Ms Truss are feeling particularly pessimistic about her career prospects after she was called in to No 10 on Thursday morning for what one source described as ‘a total b******ing’ by Mr Cummings.

It followed the leaking last week of a letter she wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

In it, she told the Ministers she was writing ‘to set out my key areas of concern on border policy and readiness for the end of the transition period and to seek your assurance that the concerns will be addressed’. 

She went on to argue that plans to phase in customs and health checks for goods from the EU over a six-month period risked a rise in smuggling.

According to one source, Mr Cummings accepted Ms Truss’s protestations that she had not leaked it herself – but said she should have realised the Civil Service would leak it. 

However, a separate source questioned Ms Truss’s version of events by claiming to this newspaper that the Cabinet Ministers had read the contents of the letter in Business Insider magazine before it even arrived in their offices.

Mr Wallace, who No 10 believe has been responsible for a number of leaks – something his friends strongly deny – is also understood to be at risk. 

Mr Wallace (pictured) , who No 10 believe has been responsible for a number of leaks – something his friends strongly deny – is also understood to be at risk

Mr Wallace (pictured) , who No 10 believe has been responsible for a number of leaks – something his friends strongly deny – is also understood to be at risk

International Development Secretary Ann-Marie Trevelyan is tipped to replace him when her department is scrapped and absorbed into the Foreign Office in the autumn.

Mr Cummings made clear his determination to crack down on leaks in a meeting with Government advisers on Friday, when he referred to ‘the snakes and reptiles of the media crawling all over Government’. 

A source said: ‘The reshuffle will have to fit with Dom’s grand plan – slash the power of the Civil Service, centralise control in No 10 and muzzle the press.’

Ms Truss declined to comment, while sources close to her said: ‘Liz is focused on her job.’ 

One Tory MP who is sympathetic to Ms Truss said: ‘I suspect Liz regrets writing a letter rather than picking up the phone. 

The chance to leak something like that is a golden opportunity for the Brexit-blocking Civil Service and this is why Cummings is right to promise a new world order.’

A senior Government source said: ‘It is true the Prime Minister is very frustrated by leaks, but there is no whiteboard up and a reshuffle is not imminent.’

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