A government adviser appears to have quit her role because of Suella Braverman, saying she and the home secretary are on “completely different planets” when it comes to women’s rights.
Nimco Ali began advising the government on tackling violence against women and girls in 2020, having been appointed by the then-home secretary Priti Patel.
But speaking on Times Radio on Friday, she hit out at the current head of the Home Office, saying she “wouldn’t feel comfortable” staying in the job alongside her.
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Asked if she would stay in post despite disagreements with Ms Braverman, 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.”
“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.”
Pushed on the issues between her and the home secretary, Ms Ali – the chief executive of women’s charity The Five Foundation and a prominent campaigner against female genital mutilation – said there were some “incredible” civil servants and ministers working on tackling violence against women and girls.
But she added: “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.”
However, Sky News understands Ms Braverman and Ms Ali had never met, and her role was due to end in the next two weeks.
A source close to Ms Braverman told Sky News: “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 has already visited a women’s refuge center to spend time with the women there and hear their stories and experiences.
“She will continue to focus on this policy and the rights of women and girls to live safely in our country.”
But Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called the decision of Ms Ali to quit “damning” for Ms Braverman.
“She has been sacked by one prime minister, sidelined by another, criticized by colleagues and now a significant independent adviser on violence against women and girls making clear she cannot work with her,” she said.
“Those around her clearly don’t think she’s capable of doing the job. It shows how weak Rishi Sunak was to appoint her. More chaos at the heart of this Tory government.”
Ms Braverman was first appointed as home secretary by Liz Truss in her short tenure, but was sacked over a security breach which broke the ministerial code.
She was controversially re-appointed to Rishi Sunak’s cabinet six days laterwith Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer accusing him of doing a “grubby deal” with her to secure her support in the Conservative leadership contest to replace Ms Truss.
but Mr Sunak has stood by his decisionsaying she had apologized and was welcome back in cabinet.
Ms Braverman has also attracted criticism for her language, especially over immigrationwhere she described asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats as “an invasion”.
Sky News has contacted Ms Ali and the Home Office for a comment.