The sacking of Sonia Khan

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a bit more commentary on the sacking of Sonia Khan, because, as I read it, it was almost certainly illegal. From what I have read in today’s papers, she was a career civil servant who had worked in several other departments before being employed in the Treasury by, first, Philip Hammond and, now, Sajid Javid. So, she will either have reported to the Permanent Secretary – most likely – or Javid himself, if she had the status of a Special Advisor. Either way she should surely have been subject to the normal disciplinary procedures of the civil service, if she had, indeed, committed an offence, which is unclear.

Of course, she won’t go to an employment tribunal. People seldom do because they will be conscious that it will damage their future employment prospects.

What Cummings has almost certainly done is something which he wasn’t authorised to do, contrary to all established HR procedures, and possibly open to the charge of bullying.

Funny that ! It feels like their general approach to the rulebook, which is why they are so keen to tear it up.

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12 thoughts on “The sacking of Sonia Khan

    • Dear Edward, Yes, I believe it is not, and should not, be possible to sack someone without warning, because of a suspicion, without any evidence, that she might have leaked a sensitive document, particularly if the person doing the sacking was not her line manager. There are, or were, established procedures about such matters, which Cummings has chosen to circumvent or ignore. Charles

    • Dear Edward, I should have said that I assume that Cummings is employed as a civil servant, which means that he has to follow civil service rules, or has himself committed a disciplinary offence. Or are you suggesting that he should be exempt ? Charles

    • Does a State of Emergency mean that all normal laws and rules of behaviour are suspended ? Maybe that is why a State of Emergency is being created, precisely in order to allow a suspension of the rule of law. Charles

  1. Richard Bram says:

    As far as I know, Mr. Cummings has never been elected so much as dog catcher. that he should dare to threaten elected representatives because they disagree with him is utterly vile, totalitarian behaviour and there is no defence for it.

  2. Sarah Papineau says:

    Cummings and Khan are both “Special Advisers”. Sacking Khan without informing her Minister would be like sacking Cummings without informing the Prime Minister.
    Unthinkable really but this just happened. I’m glad you drew attention to it …..

      • Sarah Papineau says:

        Charles, I am not sure about the UK. The UN employs Special and Senior Advisors more flexibly than its international civil servants. You are right though that a Special Advisor in a national government would be subject to the country’s employment law. Sarah

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