Sajid Javid 'furious with Boris Johnson' after special adviser sacked by PM's top aide

Special adviser previously worked for Philip Hammond at No 11

Adam Forrest
Friday 30 August 2019 23:00 BST
Dominic Cummings says he 'doesn't know very much about very much'

Sajid Javid confronted Boris Johnson after the prime minister’s top strategist, Dominic Cummings, sacked the chancellor’s media advisor following a confrontation in Downing Street, it has been reported.

Sonia Khan, who was a special adviser to former chancellor Philip Hammond and continued in the role under Mr Javid, has now left her position at the Treasury, The Independent understands.

The prime minister’s right-hand man summoned Ms Khan to No 10 for a short meeting before she was escorted out of the building, according to reports.

Her government security passes were confiscated and she was walked out by a police officer, according to The Huffington Post, which first reported her departure.

Mr Javid was “absolutely furious” over the decision, The Times reported. A former Whitehall staff member who worked there under Theresa May’s tenure told The Guardian a “culture of fear” had taken hold.

Government sources insisted there were no trust issues between the prime minister and Mr Javid following the abrupt firing of Ms Khan.

There is no indication Ms Khan was told to leave the job because of recent Downing Street leaks to the press.

Mr Cummings is believed to have recently told all Whitehall’s special advisers – or “spads” – that he would personally intervene to sack them if he found out about leaks.

No 10 has been at odds with Mr Hammond ever since the handover of power at Downing Street in July.

The former chancellor denied being the source of the leak of Operation Yellowhammer, the Whitehall dossier which set out many of the possible negative impacts of a no-deal Brexit.

An anonymous Downing Street source has suggested it was “deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders”.

Mr Hammond later demanded an apology from the prime minister for the “implication ... that a minister in the last government had retained and then leaked a copy of this document”.

Earlier this month, Mr Hammond criticised Mr Johnson for allowing “unelected people” to “pull the strings” in Downing Street – remarks widely seen as a personal attack on Cummings and his powerful role in shaping No 10 policy.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on individual staffing and personnel matters.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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