SOUTH Swindon MP Robert Buckland’s former special adviser has dismissed as “very unfair” criticism of his former boss.

Peter Cardwell served as the Justice Secretary’s press man until he was given the boot on Thursday – despite his boss keeping his job in the Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Buckland faced criticism online from Mail on Sunday writer Dan Hodges. He compared the minister to Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor who resigned after Boris Johnson demanded he take on new Downing Street-appointed advisers. Mr Hodges claimed the Justice Secretary told his special adviser: “Dom [Cummings, the Number 10 chief of staff] wants you out so I’m going to have to let you go." He added: "What a piece of work.”

But Mr Cardwell described the comments as “very unfair”. He told the Adver his boss had wanted him to stay on as a special adviser, but Downing Street had withdrawn their support. Under the system by which special advisers are appointed a candidate needs the backing of both their minister and Number 10.

“Robert is someone who is very lovely, very kind. He is my friend and will continue to be my friend,” he said.

“It is regrettable that people are saying things they should not say.”

A former TV journalist, Mr Cardwell had worked for Conservative ministers for the past three-and-a-half years. He admitted he may have been seen as a relic of the Theresa May government by Mr Johnson’s new regime.

He said: “All political careers come to an end. I’ve been told there was nothing personal. I didn’t do anything I shouldn’t have done.”

The Justice Secretary’s new special adviser is Alex Wild, formerly at the Home Office and a veteran of the 2012 campaign to re-elect Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.

Mr Buckland told the Adver he was happy to have been re-appointed to the job of Lord Chancellor and planned to “get on with it”.

“I’m delighted to be given the further opportunity to drive forward the agenda of keeping our streets safer and reforming the way in which we deliver criminal justice in England and Wales,” he said.