Sonia Khan, who worked in No. 10 and the Treasury during the premierships of David Cameron and Theresa May, says daytime drinking has long been normalised in Downing Street. She told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that historic use was “totally different” to the allegations of partying while the public was ordered to abide by restrictions to tackle coronavirus.
The former SpAd, who was sacked by Dominic Cummings, explained
“Usually these drinking sessions are sandwiched between pieces of work, so it feels like a very, very routine thing… Drinks could start at lunch time, they could start a little bit later in the day – different teams do things very differently – but the idea of mini fridges or having drinks underneath your table wasn’t uncommon.”
Downing Street denizens are kicking back at the idea that they are running the country constantly half-cut. Guido would only point out that Winston Churchill was half-cut when prosecuting the war and that the Royal Navy conquered half the world with drunken sailors. It is a well established scientific fact that wine aids creativity… and we sorely need some inspired creativity to get the country going at full throttle again.
UPDATE: Yvette Cooper got all outraged at the drinking tales and said it wasn’t like that before 2010. Tony Blair’s daily intake, according to his memoir, A Journey, was a “stiff whisky or G and T before dinner, couple of glasses of wine or even half a bottle with it…”. As he describes it “not excessively excessive”. Something for Boris to consider, Harold Wilson used to drink before PMQs!
In her first interview since being marched out of Downing Street by a cheerful policeman following her sacking in August 2019, former Treasury SpAd Sonia Khan has claimed she is optimistic for the future of No. 10 workplace employment rights following her tribunal case against them. Khan told Woman’s Hour she wasn’t scared of Dominic Cummings – who dismissed her – however she’s optimistic about the future of SpAd’s working conditions with Allegra Stratton:
“Whilst I don’t know them very closely, people like Allegra Stratton do believe that the treatment of Special Advisers has to change, and there are more protections in place now”
Sonia was surprisingly cagey about the exact reason given by Cummings for why she was sacked…
Guido can reveal that Chancellor Philip Hammond has hired Sonia Khan to join his team as a media SpAd working alongside Poppy Trowbridge. Hammond’s other media SpAd Giles Winn will be moving into a broader SpAd role. Khan has held a number of press roles around Whitehall, most recently press secretary to Liam Fox in the Department for International Trade. She is also an alumna of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. At least there is now one tax cutter in the Chancellor’s office…