Dr Munira Mirza is head of Number Ten’s policy unit and has been a key ally of Boris Johnson for many years. As an Oldham-born, comprehensive-educated Muslim woman, she is not from a traditional Tory background by any means. Once a student radical and member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Mirza has more recently worked at the Policy Exchange think tank, for Boris Johnson at City Hall and as an academic at King’s College London. She co-authored the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, which pledged to boost police numbers and increase NHS funding. Once touted as a potential London mayoral candidate, Mirza is well placed to seek elected office herself. For now, however, she will continue to occupy one of government’s most coveted posts. A frequent and public backer of Johnson’s spikier side – including, crucially, his infamous “letterboxes” comment – Mirza has repeatedly shown herself to be a true loyalist. In June 2020, she was the controversial choice to oversee the government’s race commission, and has questioned the validity of arguments alleging the existence of institutional racism in the UK, arguing in the Spectator in 2017 that “anti-racism is being weaponised across the political spectrum”.