Rishi Sunak’s top communications aide quits, dealing blow to PM

On Friday, Rishi Sunak’s director of communications resigned.

Amber de Botton announced her departure, dealing a severe blow to the prime minister.

It has been an honour and a privilege to work as the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications, but I have determined that the time is right to move on, she wrote on Twitter (X).

Rishi Sunak's top communications aide quits, dealing blow to PM

I’d like to take this chance to thank the prime minister for his leadership and support.

She continued, “His team is committed and motivated because he inspires them to have those attributes. I also want to congratulate my coworkers because, despite working at No. 10, which is a hard and high-pressure environment, they consistently demonstrate excellent professionalism and talent.

A few days after moving into Downing Street, the Prime Minister engaged Ms. de Botton, who had worked as a senior broadcast political journalist for ten years, as his director of communications.

She was a special adviser, able to give political advice to ministers, defend the Government’s activities, and condemn opposition parties, unlike an unbiased civil servant.

Shortly after it was reported on the political website Guido Fawkes that Liam Booth-Smith, chief of staff at No. 10, had allegedly advised special advisors to retire if they didn’t think the Tories could win the next election, she announced her departure.

There was no implication that Ms. de Botton had this opinion, and there is no known connection between the two issues.

Prior to working as the head of news and subsequently the head of politics at ITV News, she spent five years as the deputy head of politics at Sky News.

A day after Mr. Sunak announced minimal changes to his ministerial team in response to the resignation of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who is leaving active politics, she announced her resignation.

One of the prime minister’s closest cabinet allies, Grant Shapps, was named defence secretary, which was viewed as a small reset before the following general election.

In the upcoming months, a more extensive shuffling is anticipated.

Ms. de Botton was credited with being instrumental in stabilising the government under Mr. Sunak following Liz Truss’ dismal and ill-fated presidency.

However, the polls show that the Tories are still 20 points behind Labour.

It seemed that efforts to bridge the gap, including weeks last summer devoted to topics that were important to voters, such the “small boats” crossing the Channel, had not made much progress.

The departure of Ms. de Botton threatened to overshadow some additional good economic news for the Government on Friday.

By the end of 2021, according to official statistics, the UK economy had already recovered to its pre-Covid levels.

After gaining access to new information, the Office for National Statistics said that it was updating its estimate of the gross domestic product (GDP) for that year.

The economy is now projected to have grown by 0.6% over 2019 levels by the last three months of 2021, down from the earlier estimate of 1.2% growth.

According to the ONS, the revised estimate indicates that the UK economy expanded by 8.5% in 2021 as opposed to the earlier estimate of 7.6%.

A statement from British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt read: “Some important news today: the ONS have published new stats which show that Britain’s economic performance coming out of COVID was much stronger than originally thought.”

I’m happy of the support I put in place as Chancellor during Covid, Mr. Sunak said through mail. With initiatives like the furlough plan and the Culture Recovery Fund, we were able to safeguard millions of jobs and restart the economy.

“We now need to adhere to our plan and cut inflation in half.”

However, the cost of living problem is still affecting millions of people, since many of them have seen increases in their mortgage and rent payments.

The government also sometimes seems to be plagued by crises and controversies, the newest of which is the use of possibly dangerous concrete in some hospitals and school buildings, in addition to ongoing strikes by physicians, rail workers, and other public sector employees.

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