All prime ministers lose advisers at various points, but those working for Boris Johnson seem to jump ship or otherwise exit at a faster rate than most. Here is a list of significant people who have left his No 10.
Johnson’s longstanding policy chief and lead architect of his culture-war policies, who also worked with Johnson when he was London mayor, quit over the prime minister’s attempt to associate Keir Starmer with the failure to prosecute the paedophile Jimmy Savile. In a strongly worded resignation letter, Mirza called the comments “inappropriate and partisan” and called for Johnson to apologise.
Quitting on the same afternoon as Mirza – though it was claimed not to be connected – was head of communications at Downing Street from April last year, having previously held the deputy’s role. Formerly an experienced political journalist, Doyle had been somewhat in the glare of claims about lockdown-breaching parties, with reports that he made a speech and handed out awards at a Christmas event in December 2020.
Not officially a resignation – Downing Street stressed at the time he was pushed out – the departure of Cummings in November 2020 was nonetheless dramatic. Johnson’s former chief aide exited the No 10 front door carrying a box of possessions after a bitter internal power struggle. He has since spent much of his time taking potshots at “the shopping trolley”, as he terms Johnson for his supposed wildly veering views.
Departing at the same time as Cummings, Johnson’s former communications chief quit his post at No 10 amid the same power struggle. A former journalist turned Johnson adviser, who loyally stuck with him in his backbench wilderness period, Cain was another veteran of the Vote Leave campaign.
Johnson’s ethics adviser quit in November 2020 after the prime minister refused to sack the home secretary, Priti Patel, despite a formal investigation finding evidence that she had bullied civil servants. Allan said Patel’s conduct “amounted to behavior that can be described as bullying”, noting instances of shouting and swearing and finding that she had breached the ministerial code, even if unintentionally.
The head of the UK government’s legal department resigned after a significant disagreement with the attorney general for England and Wales over plans to override parts of the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland. Jones had repeatedly disagreed with Suella Braverman over points of law, but the final straw came over her interpretation of the EU agreement.
Johnson’s adviser on civil society and communities resigned after a row over a report on racial disparities, which concluded that the UK did not have a systemic problem with racism. Kasumu was the prime minister’s most senior black adviser. He had previously said in a letter that he was considering his resignation over the conduct of the minister Kemi Badenoch, suggesting she may have broken the ministerial code when she publicly criticized a black journalist on social media, and that tensions over race policies within No 10 had become unbearable.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism