Britain’s equalities watchdog has lost its chief executive in the wake of the failed ‘witch-hunt’ against its chairman.
Marcial Boo quietly left the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) at the end of December, having been signed off sick since September.
The 57-year-old said he has ‘decided to move on to new regulatory challenges’ – but it is understood he has not got a job to go to.
He was only two years in to what was expected to be a five-year term. And the Mail has been told he was effectively forced out over his handling of attempts by staff at the regulator to oust chairman Kishwer Falkner after she stood up for women’s rights.
Last year she was placed under investigation – in a probe costing taxpayers at least £100,000 – after civil servants made damaging accusations of bullying and harassment.
But she was cleared and her supporters believe the allegations were ideologically motivated by trans activists as Lady Falkner had defended the right to single-sex spaces.
Several sources have said the board lost confidence in Mr Boo, who previously led the MPs’ expenses watchdog, over the chaos that engulfed the EHRC.
One said there was no way that both he and Baroness Falkner could stay in their roles after the failed coup.
Another said Mr Boo had tried to act as a ‘go-between’ during the internal row but that it had not been sustainable.
A Whitehall source said: ‘I think it’s not inaccurate to claim the board lost confidence in his ability to do his job.’
The insider said Mr Boo had been responsible for ‘compiling the case against’ Baroness Falkner, who kept working at the EHRC during her eight-month ordeal even though some of her own staff were ‘conniving against her’.
Mr Boo posted on social media network LinkedIn: ‘After over two years leading the Equality and Human Rights Commission, on 2 January I decided to move on to new regulatory challenges.
‘I will always remain a champion of the organisation and I wish it, its staff and its board well for the future.’
Lady Falkner added last night: ‘In departing, Marcial expressed his thanks to the Board for the opportunity, and to the staff and stakeholders of EHRC with whom he worked.
‘We, in turn, thank him for his professional service to the EHRC and wish him the very best for the future.’
The turmoil at the EHRC was triggered by staff who are said to have objected to Lady Falkner’s recommendation the Government rewrite the Equality Act on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity.
More than 40 complaints were lodged, accusing the baroness of bullying and discrimination.
A probe into the allegations was scrapped in October. But the watchdog’s troubles may not yet be over as it could lose its place on the UN Human Rights Council.
The EHRC is under ‘special review’ by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions after lobbying by trans rights groups led by Stonewall.
Mr Boo was contacted for comment.