Who is Samuel Kasumu? Why Boris Johnson’s senior adviser handed in his resignation – and the government's response

The Prime Minister’s most senior black adviser has quit his role just a day after a government-backed report on race in the UK was published

The timing of Samuel Kasumu’s departure comes after the landmark report on race in the UK, which was commissioned after the Black Lives Matter protests.

The papers were published on Wednesday by the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) and has since faced heavy criticism – with claims the report is ‘culturally deaf’.

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But Downing Street has since said any links to Mr Kasumu leaving following the report is “completely inaccurate”.

Who is Samuel Kasumu?

Samuel Kasumu was the most senior black adviser to the Prime Minister.

He was an aide on civil society and worked closely with ethnic communities - amplifying their voices in Government.

According to reports, he wanted to step down from his role in February after tensions within No10 pursuing “a politics steeped in division” but he was persuaded to stay.

Samuel Kasumu will leave the role next month (Photo: Samuel Kasumu/Twitter)

But 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.

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 timing of his departure announcement has come one day after the Government-backed report into systemic racism in the UK.

Mr Kasumu will stay in post until May to continue work on improving vaccine uptake in minority groups, Politico has reported.

Samuel Kasumu has resigned from his position as Boris Johnson's aide.

What has Downing Street said?

A No10 spokesman said Samuel Kasumu had planned to leave the Government “for several months”.

The spokesman said: “Mr Kasumu has played an incredibly valuable role during his time at No10.

“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.”

‘The report appears to glorify slavery’

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”.

Shadow women and equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova said: “To have your most senior adviser on ethnic minorities quit as you publish a so-called landmark report on race in the UK is telling of how far removed the Tories are from the everyday lived experiences of black, Asian and ethnic minority people.

“Their divisive report appears to glorify slavery and suggests that institutional racism does not exist despite the evidence to the contrary. It is no wonder they are losing the expertise from their team.”

‘Straight out of the 1980s’

Former equality and human rights commissioner Lord Simon Woolley said he had received a “deluge of calls” following the publication of the race disparities report, with one woman telling him it could have been “straight out of the 1980s”.

“I had a whole range of feelings, actually – anger, despair, and I think above all sadness, great sadness,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“And it wasn’t just me. I had a deluge of calls, people calling up saying ‘Simon, is this for real? In 2021, are we still having to justify whether structural race inequality exists, rather than tackling it?’

“One woman said to me, in tears, this report could have been straight out of the 1980s.”