What really happened in Boris Johnson’s showdown with Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain?

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Two of Boris Johnson's most senior aides were reportedly shown the big black door today – as his Number 10 operation descended further into chaos.

But since it was confirmed Senior Advisor Dominic Cummings and Communications Director Lee Cain were to leave their jobs, competing versions of events have emerged.

Reports suggested a fiery showdown between the three men this afternoon, ending with Johnson ordering them to "get out and never return".

A source with knowledge of the conversation described this version of events as "horses**t".

And a picture has emerged, which it's claimed was taken at 7pm today, showing Cain enjoying a joke with the PM while both wore Johnson's "Get Brexit Done" boxing gloves.

At around 5pm, Cummings was seen leaving Number 10 through the front door, carrying an eye-catching cardboard box.

Johnson and Lee Cain – in a picture which it's claimed was taken hours after the PM told him to leave Number 10 and never return

(Image: PA)

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Shortly after, Downing Street said he and Cain would continue to work for Number 10 and the PM until mid-December.

But the Financial Times reported the pair had been ordered into Johnson's office today, to discuss their "general behaviour."

Johnson reportedly accused them of briefing against him and partner Carrie Symonds – and showed them text messages forwarded to Ms Symonds to prove it.

The PM is reported to have then ordered them out of the door.

But a source claimed the jovial picture of the PM and his outgoing comms aide had been taken hours after the meeting.

Mr Cain is understood to have quit on Wednesday after Johnson refused to make him Chief of Staff – an appointment opposed by Ms Symonds.

(Image: REUTERS)

(Image: REUTERS)

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Rumours that Cummings would follow him out swirled until the top aide confirmed this morning that he planned to leave before January.

Number 10 and Cabinet Office staff took a sharp intake of breath at 4.30pm, shortly before Cummings left Downing Street, when an email landed in their inboxes with the subject line "staff update."

Upon opening the email, they found it was, in fact, a reminder to nominate colleagues for the Cabinet Office internal staff awards, known as 'The Cabbies'.

Asked if Mr Cummings was gone for good after his ostentatious cardboard box exit, one Number 10 source said: "F*** knows. This could all be an elaborate plot to make journalists look foolish."