Dominic Cummings was handed huge pay rise before he was forced out, new documents show

Government’s 102 special advisers were paid total of £9.6m in the last financial year

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 15 December 2020 17:17 GMT
Dominic Cummings: Why the Prime Minister’s top adviser is quitting No 10

Dominic Cummings was handed a huge pay rise before he was forced out of Downing Street last month, it has emerged.

The prime minister’s ousted special adviser – who publicly lost a No 10 power struggle – was earning between £95,000 and £100,000 when he was recruited.

But he was being paid between £140,000 to £145,000 when he left, official documents released today show.

They also reveal that Boris Johnson rejected the head of the civil service’s advice to reach a settlement with an aide who was sacked and frogmarched out of Downing Street by armed police on Mr Cummings’ orders.

Sonia Khan – who strongly denied leaking government information – went on to receive a payout in November, worth tens of thousands of pounds, it is believed.

The figures show that, in total, all 102 special advisers were paid £9.6m in the financial year ending in March.

Lee Cain, the prime minister’s communications chief, who also quit last month, was also paid between £140,000 and £144,999 – although that was the same as the previous year.

The newly appointed press secretary Allegra Stratton, who will front No 10’s televised briefings from January, earns between £125,000 and £129,999.

The official Downing Street photographer Andrew Parsons, who works part time, earns the full-time equivalent of £100,000-£104,999, the figures show.

Mr Johnson’s other key advisers, Edward Lister and Munira Mirza, both earn between £140,000 and £144,999, while his media spokesman, Jack Doyle earns between £110,000 and £114,999.

David Frost, the Brexit negotiator currently locked in talks with Michel Barnier in Brussels, Lord Frost, earns between £125,000 and £129,999.

Mr Cummings staged a headline-grabbing walkout from No 10 last month, carrying a box of belongings, after a bitter spat with Ms Stratton and Carrie Symonds, Mr Johnson’s influential fiance.

However, he is only officially leaving his job this week, although The Independent understands he has been doing little, if any, work in the weeks since.

Relieved Tory MPs hailed the chance of a fresh start, less than one year after the aide was credited as the genius behind their landslide general election win.

He became increasingly controversial after surviving his flouting of lockdown rules with his notorious trip to and around Durham, at the height of the pandemic in March

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Boris Johnson defended Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules – then awarded him a £50,000 pay rise.

“Yet he's freezing pay for key workers and refusing to give our care workers a pay rise to the living wage.”

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