Aide sacked by the outgoing Dominic Cummings settles claim for unfair dismissal

Support us and go ad-free

A former Treasury aide marched out of Downing Street by armed police after being sacked by Dominic Cummings has settled her claim for unfair dismissal with the government. Sonia Khan, who was a special adviser to then-chancellor Sajid Javid, was dismissed last August over the alleged leaking of Brexit secrets.

The decision of the government to settle with her is likely to be seen as further evidence of Boris Johnson’s desire for a “reset” following the news that Cummings is to leave. It will also avoid potentially damaging evidence of the way Cummings ran the No 10 operation coming out in public hearings due to start next month.

Denial

During an angry confrontation in No 10, Cummings was reported to have accused Khan of being in contact with her former boss Philip Hammond who was chancellor under Theresa May – claims she denied.

She subsequently announced that she was taking the government to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.

Settle

In a statement, Khan said:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Following 14 months of negotiation, I have today reached a settlement with the Treasury, my former employer, and as a result I am no longer pursuing my employment tribunal claim which was due to be heard in London in December.

Having reached a settlement of these issues I am now moving on with my life and career. I have a fulfilling job as a consultant, I maintain great affection for the Conservative Party and remain a committed Conservative.

The party took me under its wing when I was a teen and I feel hugely privileged to have served as a special adviser under the last two prime ministers.

Mr Leave is leaving

Cummings is expected to leave his role by the end of the year after Downing Street became gripped by a bitter power struggle. The controversial Vote Leave veteran told the BBC that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented” after suggestions he was preparing to quit alongside communications director Lee Cain.

But he said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog” when he wrote that he hoped to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of 2020.

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps said Cummings “will be missed” but that he is not surprised the aide is departing, adding: “Advisers do come and go”.

Spin

Tory MPs openly aired their criticism after the infighting spilled into the open.

Conservative backbencher Roger Gale told PA:

The government, and Downing Street particularly, should be concentrating all of its efforts on the pandemic and on the end game of Brexit, and, frankly, this is a distraction that cannot and should not be allowed to take place and the prime minister has got to get a grip on it.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth highlighted the strain being heaped on the NHS and the public by coronavirus (Covid-19), adding:

And Downing Street is paralysed by the soap opera of these self-indulgent spin doctors. It’s pathetic.

His colleague on the Labour front bench, David Lammy, said of Cummings:

His legacy is one of bullying, deception, hypocrisy and hubris. The super-forecaster who ignored the pandemic. His damage is irreparable

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us