A close friend and confidant of Carrie Symonds, Henry Newman quickly climbed the ranks of government advisers to become one of Downing Street’s most influential figures.
But now the number 10 senior councilor has found himself at the center of a highly personalized dispute between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.
In a move that the Allies described as detonating a “nuclear bomb” under the Prime Minister, Mr. Cummings on Friday said he had been told by the Cabinet Secretary that Mr. Newman was likely to be the so-called “talkative rat” that in October last year the details of the second block were leaked to the newspapers.
Although the claims have been dismissed by high-level government sources as “completely false,” their publication is still likely to have far-reaching repercussions – even for Mr. Johnson, Ms. Symonds and Mr. Newman.
Prior to his elevation to number 10, Mr. Newman had long been considered a rising star in the ranks of special advisers, having served loyally under Michael Gove for several years.
Having cut his teeth in the cabinet office during his coalition years, Mr. Newman joined Gove’s entourage at the Ministry of Justice after being appointed Lord Chancellor in 2015.
He then joined Operation Vote Leave during the 2016 Brexit referendum, where he joined the team that would later take over the government under Johnson.
Leading the team was Mr. Cummings, while Lee Cain, the Prime Minister’s former communications director, worked as broadcast head.
Mrs. Symonds, then special adviser to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, was also on the scene the entire time.
In the aftermath of the referendum campaign, Mr. Newman was part of a small circle of Gove’s friends who were said to have helped convince him to “stab” Mr. Johnson and torpedo his offer for the Tory leadership by deciding to run himself.
Following the success of the Leave campaign, he established himself as a prominent commentator during Theresa May’s premiership, regularly participating in televised debates and interviews.
He also became director of Open Europe, a pro-Brexit think tank dedicated to producing policy recommendations for the future of UK-EU relations.
Following Mr. Johnson’s election as Conservative leader in July 2019, Mr. Newman returned to the Cabinet to reunite with Mr. Gove, whose influence in the government – along with his close group of advisers – has continued to grow as he has amassed an ever-increasing number of responsibilities as a minister in charge of Brexit preparations.
However, although he is considered a valid and trusted aide to Mr. Gove, it was Mr. Newman’s close friendship with Mrs. Symonds that some members of the government believe is behind his recent move to Number 10.
Described by Ms Symonds as one of her “favorite people”, he was appointed Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister in February, along with Baroness Finn, a former fiancée of Mr Gove and a member of the Cabinet’s non-executive council, who was appointed Deputy. chief of staff.
His promotion came shortly after the fall of Mr. Cummings and Mr. Cain, who left Number 10 in the wake of a power struggle that Allies claim was orchestrated by Ms. Symonds and her faithful.
Their appointments also brought the number of so-called “goveites” to number 10 to five, joining Henry Cook, Meg Powell Chandler – who are also friends of Ms Symonds – and Declan Lyons.
Together, Mr. Newman, Mr. Cook and Mrs. Powell Chandler are referred to by the Prime Minister as his “three musketeers”.
Although the veracity of Mr. Cummings’ claims is unknown, it is this personal connection with Mr. Johnson and his fiancée that lies at the heart of the controversy.