Munira Mirza is a political adviser who previously served as Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson from 2019 to 2022. She resigned recently as a result of the British prime minister’s attack on Keir Starmer. The remarks drew a rebuke from finance minister Rishi Sunak, who distanced himself from the remarks and stated that he would not have made such a misleading assertion. Sunak is a leading contender to succeed Johnson.
In addition, three of his other top aides have resigned, all of whom were directly involved in the lockdown gatherings. Elena Narozanski, a special adviser in the policy unit of Number 10 Downing Street, is another assistant who has departed the role, and the battle is now on to try and frame these resignations in various directions.
This is part of Boris Johnson’s plan, according to Number 10, in which people are moving on to different responsibilities or leaving government, and it is a re-launch of his administration, as he promised to his MPs earlier this week. Indeed, several of his conservative MPs have been asking for the removal of these aides for some time, particularly Chief of Chart Staff Dan Rosenfield, who is unpopular among many conservative MPs and is viewed as useless at best.
The problem with characterizing everything as a reset and re-launch is that we know Munira Mirza’s departure was not part of the plan. She resigned in a scathing letter, claiming that Boris Johnson had been making slanderous claims against the opposition leader, Kier Starmer and that she was resigning because Johnson had refused to apologize for his comments at the time.
Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson’s primary private secretary, is set to quit. He is the man who was caught up in one of those parties at Downing Street, and police are considering sending an email asking people to bring their boos to that event, so he is expected to resign. Then, at number 10, Jack Doyle, the head of communications, expects him to leave as well. Later, the other person we’ve been watching this morning is Elena Narozanski, who was a little less expected, but now we’re seeing devoted Boris Johnson supporters come out and say this is exactly what they wanted, and it’s all part of his plan.
But critics of Boris Johnson say this is just the start of a chaotic Downing Street, and they wonder if there are enough adults in the building to run it now that so many people are departing at once, though a few wills at least continue in their jobs until successors are found.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak who has so far refrained from publicly criticizing the prime minister also said that he would not have made the prime minister’s comment over. Since this scandal started, Rishi has given Johnson his backing but it has felt a little bit lukewarm and those comments that he would not have made these remarks in the way that Boris Johnson did about Keir Starmer, just served to underline that distance between the two men Rishi Sunak is certainly seen as a front-runner to take over from Boris johnson if a vacancy does indeed arise.
Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, who has so far refrained from openly criticizing the prime minister, said he would not have repeated the prime minister’s remark. Rishi has backed Johnson since the issue broke, but his support has been lukewarm, and his assertions that he would not have made these remarks in the same way that Boris Johnson did about Keir Starmer only helped to highlight the gap between the two men. If a vacancy arises, Rishi Sunak is widely seen as the front-runner to succeed Boris Johnson.
Who is Munira Mirza?
Munira Mirza was born to Pakistani parents, her family later moved to the United Kingdom. Her father worked at a factory, and her mother taught Urdu part-time. Munira was born in Greater Manchester, North West England, to two elder brothers and a sister. She completed her education at Breeze Hill School and subsequently attended Oldham Sixth Form College. She went on to Mansfield College at Oxford University to study English Literature. She graduated from the University of Kent with an MA in Social Research in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Sociology in 2009. Munira Mirza was the Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson from 2019 until 2022. Currently, she is married to a former organizer of swinger parties, Dougie Smith.
(Image Source: The Independent, Middle East Eye, The Guardian)