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Pressure group admits to illegally firing whistleblower Shahmir Sanni

Patrick Kelleher November 11, 2018
Shahmir Sanni was illegally fired by Taxpayers Alliance

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty

A lobby group called TaxPayers’ Alliance has admitted to illegally firing Brexit whistleblower Shahmir Sanni after he revealed that there was illegal overspending in the referendum campaign.

Shahmir Sanni made headlines across the world last March after he revealed in an Observer interview that there had been illegal overspending from the Leave campaign in the lead up to the Brexit referendum.

Before making the revelation, Sanni was employed to run social media for TaxPayers’ Alliance. However, shortly after he went public with his story, he was let go.

Shahmir Sanni was fired illegally by Taxpayers Alliance
(Linkedin/Shahmir Sanni)

Now, the group has had to concede that they fired him illegally in the aftermath, and have also admitted to launching a smear campaign against him, according to the Guardian. 

They accepted all of the allegations Sanni made against them in a lawsuit where he accused them of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, direct discrimination and “dismissal by reason of philosophical belief in the sanctity of British democracy.”

The organisation also accepted responsibility for the public vilification he experienced in the aftermath.

Publicly Outed

Since Sanni went public with his allegations of overspending, the Electoral Commission has confirmed that their spending was in breach of the law.

Sanni also has an ongoing case against Downing Street, after he was publicly outed as gay in a press statement released by the Prime Minister’s special adviser.

Ahead of Sanni’s allegations about Brexit overspending, Theresa May’s special adviser Stephen Parkinson revealed that Sanni and himself had been in a relationship for 18 months.

At the time, Sanni was not openly gay to members of his family. He explained in a statement from his solicitor at the time that members of his family in Pakistan had been forced to take measures to “ensure their safety.”

Shahmir Sanni comforted by fellow whistleblower Christopher Wylie during an event at the Frontline Club (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty)

“He knew the danger it would cause, and that’s why he did it,” he added.

It is illegal to be gay in Pakistan and the LGBT+ community and their families can face violence and persecution.

Speaking to PinkNews last April – after he had been publicly outed – he said: “The weight of coming out is debilitating for a lot of people. Some gay men kill themselves from the weight of being in the closet.

“For a lot of Muslim-Pakistani gay men, the fear is of having their family lynched and murdered, their sisters raped.

“The worst part is, Stephen knew all this, and the government knew all this. The Home Office on their website say homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan and this is what can happen.

“I understand people say, you live in Britain, but I have family and friends and a community in Pakistan, and now they all know. Every single person knows. Anyone who ever will Google me knows.”

Taxpayers’ Alliance will now be liable to pay substantial damages to Sanni, according to the Guardian.

More: brexit, England, overspending, Shahmir Sanni, taxpayers alliance, Vote Leave

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