LBC Radio host Nick Ferrari put Energy Minister Greg Hands on the spot over five of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s aides handing in their resignations within 24 hours of each other Taking a pop at the situation, the radio host asked Mr Hands whether the Downing Street pets had left yet. Mr Hands addressed the situation of mass resignation by saying it was expected as the Prime Minister announced on Monday that “there would be changes at the top.”
The presenter said: “Has anybody checked the whereabouts of Dylan the dog or Larry the cat? Are they staying with the Prime Minister, or is everyone leaving?”
Mr Hands said: “I don’t have any latest on that, but what I would say is that the Prime Minister did…”
The LBC host then noted: “He cuts a solitary figure doesn’t he, why is that do you imagine Minister? Why have all his aides left?”
Mr Hands said: “Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister announced on Monday that there would be changes at the top in Number 10.
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Mr Hands added: “Resignations have made brilliant public servants who have served the country well, some through the pandemic, some going back years before that.
“But he did say on Monday that there would be changes, in terms of how Number 10 Downing Street is run in response to the Sue Gray report update.”
The LBC presenter said: “Well, the key change appears to be the departure of Munira Mirza, who you as a London MP won’t need to be told what an influence she was too when Mr Johnson served as the Mayor of London.
“Indeed a powerful force, I don’t think that was of his doing, he’s going to miss her enormously isn’t he?”
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Mr Hands added: “Well look, I think she will be missed Munira Mirza was amazing as Boris’ advisor, policy advisor when he was Mayor of London.
“A lot of Bors’ success as Mayor of London, I think were down to Boris and Munira, and she’s been phenomenal in Number 10.
“But Boris is also clear in his response that he disagrees with what Munira Mirza had to say about the reasons behind her resignation.
“But nonetheless, the resignation of course has been accepted and is now time to move on and to get some new people into Number 10 Downing Street to really help the Prime Minister deliver on the countries priorities over the next few years.
In her resignation letter, Ms Mirza criticised comments made by Mr Johnson about Labour leader Keir Starmer in their debate over the recently-published Sue Gray report.
Mr Johnson said: “Instead, this leader of the opposition, a former director of public prosecution, who used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, as far as I can see, he chose to use this moment to continually pre-judge a police inquiry.
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“He has reached his conclusions about it. I am not going to reach any conclusions and he would be entirely wrong to do so.
“I have complete confidence in the police, I hope that they will be allowed simply to get on with their job and don’t propose to offer any more commentary about it and I don’t believe that he should either.”
Ms Mirza wrote: “It is with great regret that I am writing to resign as your Head of Policy.
“You are aware of the reason for my decision: I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice. There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion.
“This was not the normal cut-and-thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse.
“You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.
Ms Mirza added: “I have served you for fourteen years and it has been a privilege to do so. You have achieved many important things both as Prime Minister and, before that, as Mayor of London. You are a man of extraordinary abilities with a unique talent for connecting with people.
“You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.
“Even now, I hope you find it in yourself to apologise for a grave error of judgement made under huge pressure.
“I appreciate that our political culture is not forgiving when people say sorry, but regardless, it is the right thing to do. It is not too late for you but, I’m sorry to say, it is too late for me.”