One of Boris Johnson's closest advisers quits over PM's Jimmy Savile attack on Keir Starmer

One of Boris Johnson's closest advisers quits over PM's Jimmy Savile attack on Keir Starmer
Library image of Boris Johnson on a bicycleDan Kitwood/Getty Images
  • Munira Mirza has been advising Boris Johnson for more than a decade.
  • She quit over his decision to invoke a far-right conspiracy theory about opponent Keir Starmer.

One of Boris Johnson's closest advisers quit on Thursday, citing the prime minister's use of a far-right conspiracy theory against his political opponent.

Munira Mirza, who worked with Johnson for more than a decade including during his time as London mayor, claimed it was "wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice."

In a letter published in The Spectator, she added: "There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion. This was not the usual cut and thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse.

"You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave."

Her departure as director of the Number 10 policy unit has already caused shockwaves in Westminster. Although Mirza was always seen as an outsider, having once been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, she played a vital role and was praised by Johnson as one of his most inspiring women, alongside his own grandmother.


One MP told Insider it was "very damaging for Boris."

A senior Conservative figure simply texted: "Fuck."

Rachel Wolf, who co-wrote the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 election, tweeted: "Munira is one of the most wonderful people I have ever worked with. I have always admired her intellectual and moral integrity, and she is a huge loss to the government."

Dominic Cummings, Johnson's former right-hand man, said it showed "moral courage" and was "an unmistakable signal the bunker is collapsing & this PM is finished."

Oliver Lewis, another former member of Johnson's team, added: "Munira is one of the smartest, toughest and kindest people I have worked with - both during the referendum and when I was in Government. A woman of total integrity and extreme ability. What a loss to the state."