The ex-adviser said he planned to quit by the end of last year, but suggested to the prime minister that he was more frightened of him than he was of the Covid crisis.
“Chaos isn’t that bad, it means people have to look to me to see who is in charge,” the prime minister allegedly replied.
Mr Cummings also turned on the prime minister for refusing to shut the UK’s borders as the second wave of the pandemic loomed last autumn.
At the start of the crisis, last spring, Mr Johnson was told such a crackdown would be seen as “racist”, but did not oppose tougher restrictions.
Later, he was determined to prioritise the economy and regretted the first lockdown because he believed he “should have been the mayor of Jaws”.
In the book and film, the mayor of Amity famously did not want to close the beaches because it would ruin the tourist industry – despite the presence of a man-eating shark.
“Fundamentally there was no proper border policy because the prime minister never wanted a proper border policy,” Mr Cummings said.
On his departure, Mr Cummings said he had threatened, in mid-March last year, to stage a press conference and quit unless the policy of delaying a lockdown was changed.
In July 2020, he told Mr Johnson he would leave by the end of December because of the “chaos”, but suggested the prime minister feared him.
“You’re right, I am more frightened of you having the power to stop the chaos around than the chaos”, Mr Johnson was said to have replied.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies