Government adviser set to resign after saying she and Home Secretary are on ‘different planets’

Nimco Ali - Stefan Rousseau/PA
Nimco Ali - Stefan Rousseau/PA

A government adviser and friend of Carrie Johnson was set to resign on Friday night after saying she is on a “completely different planet” to the Home Secretary when it comes to their views on asylum seekers.

Nimco Ali, who is independent government adviser on tackling violence against women and girls, said that she “wouldn’t feel comfortable” working under Suella Braverman.

Ms Ali, a close friend of Boris and Carrie Johnson, and godmother to their son Wilfred, was recruited as an adviser by Priti Patel, the former home secretary, in 2020.

Her contract was due to end in just under a fortnight and it had not been made clear to her whether or not it would be renewed, The Telegraph understands.

Asked during a Times Radio interview if she was “content” to remain as an adviser under Ms Braverman, Ms Ali replied: “No. I’m committed to ending violence against women and girls, and I think there’s many avenues in which to continue that.”

Pressed on whether she intends to remain as an adviser, she replied: “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.”

She added: “I can definitely say that I wouldn’t feel comfortable serving under Suella or actually, saying that she is somebody that I probably have the same feminist ideals as.”

Ms Ali is understood to have disagreed with Ms Braverman’s decision to take the modern slavery brief away from the minister responsible for safeguarding and reclassifying it as an “illegal immigration and asylum” issue.

The move was seen as an indication that the department is doubling down on Ms Braverman’s suggestion that people are “gaming” the modern slavery system and that victims of the crime are no longer being prioritised.

Ms Ali also opposed Ms Braverman’s recent language about illegal immigration, where she referred to those arriving on small boats across the Channel as an “invasion” of Britain’s south coast.

A source close to Suella 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 has already visited a women’s Refuge centre 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.”

Ms Ali, who was born in Somalia, is chief executive of The Five Foundation and a prominent campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM).

She has previously spoken about her experiences of coming to Britain as a refugee, aged seven, after undergoing FGM during a family holiday.