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Munira Mirza


winners

SHE is one of Boris Johnson’s closest advisors, having come with him from his time as mayor of London and into Number 10 as head of its policy unit, and been cited by him as one of his foremost female influences.

The late autumn/early winter bust-up between the prime minister and his closest advisor, Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, his director of communications, saw Munira Mirza unscathed. How?

Her husband, Dougie Smith, landed a job as a strategist and opposition researcher in Johnson’s political office in March. It’s thought that he came in off the back of Cummings’ very public call to fill Whitehall with ‘misfits’ and ‘weirdos’ – and while it was directed mainly at the Civil Service, there is little doubt that within the government itself, mavericks and rebels would get a fair hearing.

And indeed, Smith has what might be put in tabloid speak, ‘a colourful past’ – though he has never sought to publicly distance himself from his role as a co-founder of Fever Parties – which reportedly as the popular press has described it, organised socials for beautiful, wellheeled hedonists. Unlike Cummings, he had worked for the party previously.

Mirza’s name has hardly surfaced at all as various camps were delineated by the press in ensuing brouhaha – perhaps, her role as a policy wonk is far enough removed from the machinations of briefings and press manoeuvrings for it not to be a thing. What did catch the press’ attention in June last year though – following the Black Lives Matter movement – was her appointment to set up the commission on race and ethnic disparities to advise the government.

A chorus of disapproval met that announcement. She was no ally to the idea of structural racism and indeed, had pretty much dismissed the idea.

Labour

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