This suggests a certain degree of turmoil at the heart of government – hardly helpful in the midst of the greatest crisis to face this country and the world for decades – and, perhaps ironically, a lack of effective communication.
Given that Cain, a former journalist who once followed David Cameron about dressed as a chicken, is a close ally of the Prime Minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings, there has been speculation that this means Johnson is moving away from the hardcore Brexiteer faction, perhaps sensing a wind of change blowing from across the Atlantic.
There are significant numbers within the Conservative party who are no friends of the Cummings, Cain and others from the Vote Leave campaign, infamous for its mendacious bus slogan about the £350 million a week that could go to the NHS if people voted for Brexit.
If this is indeed a sign that Johnson is reverting to the One-Nation Conservatism he once epitomised and casting off advisers who are driven by ideology, lack common sense and are at least prepared to go along with what is widely regarded as a whopping great lie, then this is wonderful news for the country.
It may not, however, be welcomed by the Tories’ opponents, particularly Labour and the SNP. Like Trumpian populism in the US, the wheels were always going to come off the Brexiteer version, with its faux patriotism and disdain for experts. If Johnson changes tack, he will be a much tougher opponent to beat.