Boris Johnson issued an order to not settle a high-profile unfair dismissal claim out of court, despite the advice of one of the country’s top civil servants.
Sonia Khan, who was dismissed by Dominic Cummings last year for alleged leaking, was last month paid out in the region of £100,000 by the government in an out of court settlement.
She was taking the government to a work tribunal for unfair dismissal after her abrupt sacking, which saw the former Treasury adviser personally marched out of Downing Street by Cummings.
However, the Times revealed today that Johnson had in fact issued an order to not settle the case out of court, despite the advice of former chief executive of the civil service John Manzoni.
A letter obtained by the Times showed that Manzoni wrote to Johnson on 3 March to say that Khan had knocked back an initial settlement offer.
“Given the ongoing expenditure of defending the case and the potential costs that a court may award, it is my advice, taking account of legal and financial analysis that a further negotiation should be carried out to seek to avoid litigation,” he said.
The Prime Minister wrote a letter back to Manzoni just one day later to say that “no further offer should be made to attempt settlement in advance of any potential litigation”.
“The legal position is clear that the Prime Minister can withdraw consent for any special adviser,” Johnson said.
It is unclear if the figure Khan settled for out of court was the original sum she was offered and declined back in March.
The former Treasury special adviser was working for former chancellor Sajid Javid at the time of her sacking by Number 10.
She had worked for the previous chancellor Phillip Hammond and had stayed at the Treasury in her role.
Cummings reportedly accused Khan of leaking to the press and of being disloyal to the new government – a claim she denies.