A new book reveals fresh details about the often turbulent reign of Boris Johnson.
Former British prime minister Boris Johnson referred to himself as “the Fuhrer” and “the King” as he sharply criticized his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, according to excerpts from a new book ‘Johnson at 10’ published on Sunday by UK newspaper The Times.
In passages based on the account by another high-ranking figure within the UK’s ruling Conservative Party, Michael Gove, the book says Johnson dramatically fell out with Cummings soon after the 2019 UK election in which the Tories gained an 80-seat majority in parliament
According to Gove, Johnson felt as though he was being controlled “as a tempestuous thoroughbred, with a strong whip and bridle to keep him in order” as Cummings attempted to stage-manage which issues would or would not get the prime minister’s attention. This situation, The Times adds, “increasingly troubled” the former prime minister.
“Some days the prime minister could laugh it off, but other days he didn’t,” according to Gove. This led, the book claims, to an outburst from Johnson as he attempted to wrest back control of Downing Street: “I am meant to be in control. I am the Fuhrer. I am the King who takes the decisions.”
The book – written by Anthony Seldon and Raymond Newell – also alleges that Johnson would cite his then-fiancee (now wife) Carrie Johnson as another controlling influence in his inner circle. Allegedly describing Carrie as “mad and crazy,” Johnson would use her as an excuse to avoid confrontation on key issues, the book says.
A spokesperson for Johnson told The Times that the claims made in the book were just “the usual malevolent sexist twaddle” put forth by his political foes.
Cummings, who was a chief architect of Brexit – the 2016 referendum that paved the way for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union – became an increasingly controversial figure within the UK political ecosystem soon after helping Johnson secure his resounding 2019 election win. He was frequently reported to have clashed with colleagues in Downing Street.
Cummings’ standing within the government was severely tarnished after it was revealed that he’d flagrantly violated lockdown rules during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. This prompted anger on both sides of the political divide, as Johnson staked much of his own political capital on attempting to salvage the position of his key adviser.
Cummings would leave government just five months later, in November 2020, following a feud with the prime minister. Johnson announced his resignation from government in July 2022.