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Does Boris Johnson’s government have a women problem?

With a resolutely male inner circle and the sacking of four female aide-de-camps, it’s no astound that accusations of misogyny have been levelled by the opposition. The question is whether it makes a difference at the ballot box

Sonia Khan seemed precisely the kind of young woman likely to prosper under Boris Johnson. A enthusiastic Brexiter who cut her political teeth campaigning for lower taxes, at 27 she was already a veteran of various Whitehall departments, including the Treasury. When he became chancellor, Sajid Javid snarled her up. Then, last week, her busines ended in the most brutal of ways; escorted out of No 10 by the police, after being summarily sacked by prime ministerial consultant Dominic Cummings in a manner that her former boss Philip Hammond suggested could prevail her an employment tribunal subject should she choose to bring one.

Worse still, Khan, whose allegiances were apparently questioned because of her contacts with old friends in the rebellious Hammond’s camp, was the fourth female aide thrust out by the brand-new government. “How someone could think that escorting a young Asian woman out with an armed police officer was good optics panhandlers impression, ” says a female former Tory staffer. She points out that the relevant recommendations of what one anonymous Tory source called “big thuggy bald-headed blokes picking on girls” is a gift to opposition MPs busy painting Johnson’s wider regime as vigorous, unreconstructed and full of dubious postures to women.

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