UK PM Johnson's former aide Cummings denies leaking PM's messages

© Reuters. Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Dominic Cummings, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top adviser, on Friday denied he leaked communications between Johnson and businessman James Dyson after the government launched an inquiry into their release.

Cummings, architect of the successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, left Johnson’s staff suddenly late last year having previously been his most influential adviser over Brexit and a 2019 election campaign.

Three British newspapers reported on Friday, citing unidentified sources in Johnson’s office, that Cummings was behind the leak of text messages in which Johnson promised to fix a tax issue for Dyson, who was working on supplying ventilators to the government to cope with COVID-19.

Johnson’s office launched an inquiry to find the source of the leak, but subsequently declined to comment on the reports that Cummings was responsible.

Writing on his blog, Cummings denied he had given the text messages to journalists and offered to cooperate with the leak inquiry.

“I am happy to meet with the Cabinet Secretary and for him to search my phone for Dyson messages,” he wrote.

Cummings’ departure last year was seen as a chance to reset Johnson’s leadership as public confidence in his handling of the pandemic and Brexit sunk.

On his blog, Cummings also said he was not responsible for leaks over the cost of refurbishing Johnson’s residence, and a separate leak last year when details of the government’s plan to enter a lockdown were reported before a formal announcement.

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