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30th Jun 2022

Wilfred Johnson’s godmother given government salary via closed recruitment process

Ava Evans

A source said Ali “hassled Carrie for the job”

A close friend and godmother to the prime minister’s son was given a £350-a-day role at the Home Office without the position being first advertised, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Nimco Ali OBE was appointed to the advisory role in October 2020, where she worked around 2 days a month on the UK government’s strategy on tackling violence against women and girls.

While the role’s announcement stipulated she would feed into a potentially influential report, a source close to the Johnsons said that Ali had “hassled Carrie for a job” and that the role “was just a dressed up way for her to hang out with Priti.”

Information released by the Home Office shows it was a direct appointment, meaning the role was not advertised and was not offered to anyone other than Ali.

It also appears the role may have been specifically created for her, with no evidence available to prove the job had existed prior to her employment.

Ali is a prominent social campaigner who has long worked on publicising the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice she was subjected to as a child.

She went on to form the Daughters of Eve organisation to campaign against FGM, and later became the CEO of The Five Foundation, a global partnership to end female genital FGM.

Notably, Ross Kempsell who was personally appointed by Boris Johnson to a senior comms role in CCHQ, worked as the foundation’s secretary.

Ali has a longstanding relationship with wife of the prime minister, Carrie Johnson.

A few months after the government advisory appointment had been announced, it is understood Ali stayed with the couple during the 2020 festive period at Downing Street, despite tough social distancing rules being in force throughout London.

At the time Downing Street insisted no coronavirus rules had been broken, and she is said to have stayed over the Christmas lockdown period as part of their childcare support bubble.

During the height of lockdown, Ali was seen out walking Wilfred with Carrie Johnson around London’s West End. 

Ali has also been a guest at the prime minister’s taxpayer funded, grace-and-favour-home, Chequers.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Nimco Ali has a strong track record of campaigning on violence against women and girls (VAWG) issues, raising awareness and educating people about Female Genital Mutilation.

“She brings a huge amount of experience and passion to this role, providing independent advice to help inform Government policy and challenge the status quo.

“She was appointed via a direct appointment to lead a short-term project, and her appointment was agreed by the Cabinet Office Public Appointments Policy Team.”

Nimco Ali did not respond to request for comment.

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