Boris Johnson’s most senior black adviser announced his resignation on the day the government-backed report on racial disparities was released to significant criticism, according to Politico’s Playbook.
Samuel Kasumu is a special adviser for civil society and communities in Downing Street, who has previously considered leaving his role due to the government pursuing “a politics steeped in division”.
Mr Kasumu announced his resignation yesterday morning, having played a crucial role in the production of Sir Lenny Henry’s recent vaccination campaign aimed at black Brits.
A No.10 spokesperson said the suggestion that Mr Kasumu’s resignation was linked to the report is “completely inaccurate”.
‘I don't even know who he is’
It is understood that he informed the Downing Street chief of staff of his intention to quit last week, and he was almost convinced to stay on in the role by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
The adviser will stay in his role until the end of May to continue working on improving vaccine uptake.
When asked about Mr Kasumu’s resignation on Times Radio, universities minister Gillian Keegan said “I don’t even know who he is”.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain later, she described the resignation as “a personal matter”.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Mr Kasumu has played an incredibly valuable role during his time at No 10.
“As he previously set out, he will be leaving government in May – this has been his plan for several months and has not changed.
“Any suggestion that this decision has been made this week or that this is linked to the CRED report is completely inaccurate.”
‘A politics steeped in division’
Mr Kasumu wrote to the Prime Minister in February with concerns about the way equalities minister Kemi Badenoch had handled enquiries from a Huffpost journalist.
In a letter seen by the BBC, he wrote: "It was not OK or justifiable, but somehow nothing was said. I waited, and waited, for something from the senior leadership team to even point to an expected standard, but it did not materialise."
He also described his concerns about the direction of the Conservative Party.
He wrote: "I fear for what may become of the party in the future by choosing to pursue a politics steeped in division."
In July, Mr Kasumu tweeted positively about the announcement of the government’s Race and Ethnic Disparities Commission, which released its report yesterday.
The report has attracted significant criticism, in particular regarding a line in the report’s introduction about reframing the slave period as “not only being about profit and suffering, but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain”.
Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust think tank, said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted to see the slave trade apparently redefined as ‘the Caribbean experience,’ as though it’s something Thomas Cook should be selling — a one-way shackled cruise to purgatory.”