Councillor retracts resignation to Prime Minister expressing concerns over 'politics steeped in division'

Samuel Kasumu

Samuel Kasumu, a Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor - Credit: WHBC

A Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor, who is also a senior adviser to the Prime Minister, has retracted his resignation to Boris Johnson.  

Hatfield Villages councillor Samuel Kasumu, who serves on the PM's race disparity board, expressed misgivings to Mr Johnson in a leaked letter, obtained by the BBC, that the Conservative party was heading in the wrong direction. 

But yesterday, after talking with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi he retracted his resignation according to the BBC.

Cllr Kasumu wrote in that letter: "I fear for what may become of the party in the future by choosing to pursue a politics steeped in division.

"Politics is of course an environment where there is always an opposition, an adversary. But I truly believe we have to consider others as best we can in our conduct. We can be firm, robust, but also civil and empathetic."

He also applauded the work the Conservatives have done to improve race relations in Britain but explained he could not go on after equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, in his view, "breached" the Ministerial Code and there was no response from the Government. 

Ms Badenoch, the MP for Saffron Walden, which includes the village of Chrishall, was condemned by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) last week after she "abused" a reporter from the Huffington Post UK for asking about her not taking part in a vaccine advert aimed at the BAME population. 

The NUJ said in a statement: "Putting in questions to elected representatives is pretty standard journalistic practice and the response from Kemi Badenoch was frankly weird, completely out of order and an abuse of her privilege."

Cllr Kasumu added in his letter to the PM: "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."

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"I would say that the work I have been doing on the vaccine rollout is also the most important thing that I have been involved in. We are in a battle against misinformation and mistrust that could result in more lives being lost than is necessary."

Cllr Kasumu was asked after the BBC story broke this morning for a response prior to publication along with the Cabinet Office. 

Number 10 declined to comment on individual staff matters. 

However, a government spokesperson did say in a statement: "The Minister [Kemi Badenoch] has been working hard to encourage vaccine take up and confidence amongst those disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

"She believes that to instil confidence in the vaccine it is vital to remain unified and not undermine the message of promoting take-up amongst minority communities. We want every eligible person to benefit from the offer of a free vaccine, no matter their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

"To ensure this happens the Government is pursuing a unified approach to public health messaging, as was demonstrated by the cross-party video released earlier this week”.

The Times had claimed the Cabinet Office is investigating if she broke the ministerial code, which they have since retracted. 

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