Tory MP Nickie Aiken to stand down while Government comms chief husband quits

The long-serving chief of Government communications is quitting the role to take up a new job advising the United Arab Emirates government.

Alex Aiken will leave the Civil Service in April to become a communications adviser to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cabinet Office said on Wednesday.

His wife, Tory MP Nickie Aiken, announced on the same day that she will stand down at the next general election.

The Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster referred to her husband’s move in her departure statement, saying that he “has accepted a job offer overseas and he deserves my full support as he pursues a new career”.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Alex Aiken will leave the Civil Service in April to take up a new role as a communications advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United Arab Emirates. He has worked in the Cabinet Office for the last decade, serving as Executive Director, Government Communication.

“His new role has been vetted through the Cabinet Office Business Appointment Rules process. He will abide by the standard conditions governing senior civil service external appointments.”

His move is not connected to the planned UAE-backed takeover of the Telegraph Media Group, and he has not been involved in UK national security decision-making, it is understood.

Mr Aiken has been the executive director for government communication since 2012.

He managed the combined Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office communications team until 2021, according to his biography on

He previously headed up communications for Westminster City Council and led the Conservative Party’s campaigns unit and press office.

Ms Aiken became the latest parliamentarian to confirm they will call it quits at the election expected later this year.

Some 80 MPs have announced they will leave Parliament at the next election, more than the 74 who retired in 2019, including more than 50 Conservatives or former Conservatives.

She said: “It has been the greatest honour of my life to be an elected public servant for 18 years…

“I have been privileged to represent the most diverse and vibrant part of London, with its rich culture and history.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly. My husband, Alex, who has supported me steadfastly throughout my political career, has accepted a job offer overseas and he deserves my full support as he pursues a new career.”

The 55-year-old was first elected to Parliament in 2019 when she secured a slim majority of 3,953.

She serves as deputy chair of the Conservative Party board.

With Rishi Sunak’s Tories well behind in the polls, a host of senior party figures have chosen not to fight for another term.

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace and ex-Cabinet ministers Dominic Raab, George Eustice, Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid have all called time on their Commons careers.