Dilyn’s Watergate! Downing Street insiders reveal how Carrie Symonds’ dog caused a stink after cocking his leg over handbag belonging to then-aide to Dominic Cummings
- In a curious incident, departing Downing Street aide Katie Lam put her handbag down in No 10 garden only for Carrie Symonds’ dog Dilyn to cock his leg over it
- Miss Lam, Dominic Cummings’ chief advisor, is latest departure from PM’s circle
- Boris Johnson also battling to keep his No 10 political secretary Ben Gascoigne
By any standards, it was a curious incident. Centre-stage were the Prime Minister’s partner Carrie Symonds, her beloved dog Dilyn, a now departing Downing Street aide and a handbag.
In the No 10 garden last year, Katie Lam, who worked for the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, put down her bag and other belongings – only to see Dilyn, the First Couple’s adored Jack Russell, cock his leg over them.
Horrified, Miss Lam instinctively pushed away the dog to protect her possessions, say well-placed sources. Miss Symonds is believed to have arrived at the scene shortly afterwards.
According to some sources, Miss Symonds remonstrated with Miss Lam. However, this is disputed by others. Some friends of Miss Symonds are said to have criticised the way Miss Lam responded.
Friends of Miss Lam, though, say she acted ‘perfectly reasonably’. In any event, the incident, in the garden which is used for staff to relax as well as for official functions, has been dubbed ‘Dilyn’s Watergate’ by No 10 officials, after the US political scandal that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.
No 10 sources reported Carrie Symonds (pictured with her dog) remonstrated with former aide Katie Lam over her dog Dilyn’s behaviour after the dog cocked his leg at Miss Lam’s belongings
Miss Lam is the latest departure from Boris Johnson’s inner circle – and last night the Prime Minister was engaged in a battle to keep another key figure, his No 10 political secretary Ben Gascoigne.
The latest developments come 24 hours after the Mail revealed Lord Frost was given a seat in Cabinet – after he criticised new roles for Baroness Simone Finn and her assistant Henry Newman, allies of Miss Symonds.
There is no suggestion that Miss Lam’s departure is linked to the incident with Dilyn in the garden – or any criticism of Miss Symonds. Dilyn has proved to be a key figure at No 10.
Mr Cummings clashed with Mr Johnson last year when Miss Symonds allegedly tried to stop the Prime Minister hosting a Covid crisis meeting to deal instead with a newspaper report claiming she wanted to get rid of Dilyn.
Mr Cummings told Mr Johnson to overrule his fiancee and ordered officials to block any phone calls from Miss Symonds to the Prime Minister about the dog.
Miss Symonds was said to be livid at a report in The Times which claimed that she no longer liked the animal.
Pictured: Katie Lam, who worked for Prime Minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings
Miss Lam hit the headlines in 2012 when, as president of Cambridge Union Society, the university’s debating club, she oversaw a debate between former glamour model Katie Price and Mr Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson.
The debate, on whether ‘the only limit to female success is female ambition’ was won by Miss Price.
Miss Lam said she invited Miss Price because she was ‘popular among the young and represents the aspirations of a large number of women and girls in the UK’.
Unusually for a Downing Street official, Miss Lam has an alternative career as a successful songwriter and lyricist.
After working at Goldman Sachs merchant bank, she was drafted into Downing Street by Mr Cummings in 2019.
Last September, Mr Cummings put her in charge of human resources for the Government’s team of special advisers.
Katie Lam hit headlines in 2012 when, as president of Cambridge Union Society, she oversaw a debate between former glamour model Katie Price and Mr Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson
That role has been taken over by new Downing Street deputy chief of staff Baroness Finn and Mr Newman. Their promotion follows the ousting of Mr Cummings in December.
Mr Johnson faced fresh problems last night over claims that Mr Gascoigne has threatened to resign over their appointment.
Mr Johnson has reportedly begged his close ally to stay in return for promoting him to a new job. Baroness Finn and Mr Newman both worked for Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.
They are personal and political allies of Miss Symonds. Mr Gascoigne is a Johnson loyalist who worked for him in his days as London mayor and served as an adviser when he was foreign secretary.
Lord Frost, Mr Johnson’s long-time ally and former Brexit chief negotiator, was given a place in Cabinet on Wednesday – and Mr Gove’s job of overseeing Britain’s post-Brexit links with the EU – after criticising the new jobs for Baroness Finn and Mr Newman.
This newspaper was told that Lord Frost threatened to resign from Mr Johnson’s Downing Street team over the appointments of the duo.
No 10 was contacted for a response last night.
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