Friend of Carrie Symonds named as ‘chatty rat’ suspect by Cummings in lockdown leak probe

Boris Johnson’s former top aide says the Prime Minister wanted the inquiry into the Covid leak put on ice

Carrie Symonds and fiance Boris Johnson (Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images)

A close friend of Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds has been accused of being the so-called “chatty rat” who leaked plans for a second coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s former top aide Dominic Cummings claims Henry Newman, a special adviser, is the likely culprit.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cummings claimed Johnson wanted the leak inquiry paused as it would cause “very serious problems” with Symonds if Newman was fired.

Dominic Cummings claims that Henry Newman (left), pictured with Michael Gove in 2019, was the source of a leak in October 2020 about the Government announcing a second lockdown. (PA)

‘Mad’ and ‘totally unethical’

The former top adviser attacked the PM in a lengthy blog post published on Friday (April 24).

Cummings levelled a series of explosive allegations at the PM, questioning his "competence and integrity" as leader of the county.

Mr Cummings said that he had told the PM that was “mad” and “totally unethical” and that he could not cancel an inquiry into a leak which had affected millions of people “just because it might implicate his girlfriend’s friends”.

Ex-government advisor, Dominic Cummings (pictured), has alleged Henry Newman is the 'chatty rat' leak. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

‘Favourite people’

Earlier this year Newman moved to become a senior adviser to Mr Johnson in No 10 where he joined a number of other former proteges of Mr Gove.

His elevation was seen in part due to the influence of Ms Symonds who once reportedly described him as one of her “favourite people”.

Over the past years, Mr Newman has risen steadily through the ranks of Tory special advisers having begun working in Whitehall in the coalition years under David Cameron.

In 2015 he joined Michael Gove at the Ministry of Justice, forming a close alliance with the cabinet minister.

When the Brexit referendum was called the following year he went to work for the Vote Leave campaign run by Mr Cummings, the man now pointing the finger at him over the “chatty rat” leak.

Following their victory, he was reportedly among a group of Mr Gove’s close friends who advised him to scupper Mr Johnson’s leadership bid by standing himself.

After Theresa May became prime minister, Mr Newman joined Open Europe, a pro-Brexit think tank, becoming a prominent commentator and supporter of her controversial Brexit plan.

When Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019, Mr Newman was reunited with Mr Gove in the Cabinet Office where he had been put in charge of the Brexit preparations.