A Government adviser on violence against women is to quit her role, citing the fact she is on a “completely different planet” from the Home Secretary.
Nimco Ali, who was appointed as an independent government adviser on tackling violence against women and girls by then home secretary Priti Patel in October 2020, effectively quit live on air on Friday during a radio interview.
Asked during an appearance on Times Radio if she was happy to remain as an independent adviser, despite disagreeing with the current Home Secretary, she said: “No. I’m committed to ending violence against women and girls, and I think there’s many avenues in order to continue that.”
She went on: “I’m just saying that Suella and I are on completely different planets when it comes to the rights of women and girls, and also the way that we talk about ethnic minorities, and specifically people like me who are from a refugee background.”
A Home Office spokesperson thanked Ms Ali “for all her work to protect women and girls”.
The current CEO of The Five Foundation, Ms Ali is a prominent campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM).
Pressed on whether her time as an adviser was coming to an end because of a disagreement with Ms Braverman, she said: “I think the fair upsum is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable.
“I think I can definitely say that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in serving under Suella or actually saying that she is somebody that we probably have the same feminist ideals as.”
A source close to Ms Braverman said: “The Home Secretary is determined to make our streets and homes safer for women and girls. That’s why she has made violence against women and girls one of her key priorities at the Home Office and today backed a new law on public sexual harassment.
“She will continue to focus on this policy and the rights of women and girls to live safely in our country.”
Ms Ali has backed the Conservatives in the past and was a supporter of former prime minister Boris Johnson.
“I’m very much a Blairite, and I’m very much a centrist,” she told the broadcaster, when quizzed about the circumstances behind Ms Braverman’s controversial return to the Home Office after she was forced to resign in the final days of Liz Truss’s Government.
“The reality is that I’m more in the same camp as Rishi Sunak than I am with Suella Braverman in terms of our politics.
“I think the reality is that, and I’ve seen in the last few years, that you consistently have to juggle things as prime minister and the people you appoint are not necessarily the people that you might think are fit for the role.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman arriving in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday December 6, 2022. Kirsty O'Connor
It is understood that Ms Ali’s contract was coming to an end before Christmas, and that she had not met Ms Braverman since her appointment as Home Secretary.
Labour hit out at Ms Braverman over the resignation, calling it “damning” for the Home Secretary.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “She has been sacked by one prime minister, sidelined by another, criticised by colleagues and now a significant independent adviser on violence against women and girls making clear she cannot work with her.
“Those around her clearly don’t think she’s capable of doing the job. It shows how weak Rishi Sunak was to appoint her.”