A TORY councillor in the North-East has said he will be doing ‘a celebratory lap of Barnard Castle’ to mark Dominic Cummings’ departure from his Downing Street role.

Boris Johnson’s chief adviser was spotted leaving Downing Street carrying a box and the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported he had left with ‘immediate effect’.

Mr Cummings was expected to leave by the end of the year after those surrounding the Prime Minister became embroiled by a bitter power struggle.

It has been reported that Mr Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds effectively blocked the promotion of communications director Lee Cain, who has also quit.

Mr Cummings told the BBC his “position hasn’t changed since January when he wrote that he hoped to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of 2020.

The Northern Echo:

Dominic Cummings on Friday afternoon

Confirmation it had happened sooner came from pictures showing Mr Cummings had cleared his desk.

Ms Kuenssberg tweeted: “Dominic Cummings has now decided to leave Number 10 today for good - subtle hint walking out with a box - Lee Cain also now out from today.

“There was a conversation between the two of them and the PM at lunchtime today where it was decided after upset in the team and difficult week, best to go immediately.”

Antony Mullen, head of the Conservatives group on Sunderland City Council, told Radio 4: “I will be doing a celebratory lap of Barnard Castle to mark his departure.

“He has put himself forward as this kind of radical who detested the establishment and was going to do things differently, but it is not clear to me that he has actually achieved any of that.

"I can’t see that he is leaving Downing Street and the Government in a better position than he found it.

"It is not really obvious to me how his involvement has made it better than when he first got involved. I don’t think his rhetoric, often about himself, his level of genius and so on, actually matches what he has achieved while he been at the heart of Government.”

The Northern Echo:

Dominic Cummings explains his actions

Mr Cummings, who co-owns a farm with his family near Durham, memorably caused outrage by travelling during lockdown from London with his wife and son in March while suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

His Barnard Castle trip was widely seen as the reason public faith in the restrictions began to wane and it subsequently emerged he did not pay council tax or have planning permissions in place for his cottage.

The Northern Echo exclusively revealed he would not be charged up to £50,000 in backdated council tax, or face any action for the planning breaches as works were done as far back as 2002.

Labour’s Durham City MP Mary Foy said: “It says a lot about both Dominic Cummings and the people around the Prime Minister that he hasn’t gone over his promotion of herd immunity, or his flouting of lockdown rules, or the reckless public health messaging that flowed from his trip to Durham, or even the non-payment of council tax on his family residence in Durham, but over an argument about internal office politics, where Mr Cummings did not get his way.

“During a public health and economic emergency, I think that shows his priorities.”

Durham County Council leader Simon Henig said the Government should be focusing on the coronavirus instead of the ‘soap opera’ among staff at Downing Street.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones, Labour, said Mr Cummings’ political legacy and the Government’s ‘chaotic response to the Covid crisis’ would have a lasting effect on the region.

He said: “Cummings has been a negative influence on UK politics and his departure is welcome, but there is little evidence that the Government is silencing and going to change course.”

North-West Durham MP for the Conservative Party Richard Holden and Labour’s Easington MP Graham Morris did not respond to The Northern Echo’s request for comment about Mr Cummings.

The Northern Echo:

Dehenna Davison, Paul Howell, Mary Foy and Kevan Jones

However, Tory Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison said played down the significance of the news regarding Mr Cummings saying: “Judging by my inbox, most of my constituents are more concerned about the impact of coronavirus and making sure we continue to protect health, jobs, and our children’s education than they are about Number 10 HR.”

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell, Conservative, said it is not unusual for advisors to move on and he had indicated this intention himself some time ago.

He said: “Most advisors are never heard of by the public but Mr Cummings has clearly been an exception to that rule.

"I have not met him so can’t really comment on the quality of his advice but his public disagreements with the press are well known and I am sure I won’t miss them.”