The resignation of Britain’s top negotiator to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, is still causing heartburn for the government as civil servants speak out against the government.
Yesterday the PM appointed Sir Tim Barrow to replace him, a move largely seen as sensible and safe.
But that hasn’t stopped key civil servants from privately speaking out. The Times reports today:
“This is a mandarin revolt because of what they are hearing from inside. They are reflecting the concerns at the general behaviour of Mrs May’s team and the lack of direction, coupled with the general desire to blame the civil service for everything,” one serving senior civil servant said.
Worse, several former civil servants have gone on the record to criticse the government too:
Sir Simon Fraser, head of the Foreign Office from 2010 until 2015, said that the loss of Sir Ivan would be keenly felt and redirected criticism towards the lack of a plan in Downing Street. “We know that the government did not have a clear plan for Brexit after the referendum; we know that the government has been through a process of gathering information across Whitehall in order to put a negotiating position together, and we know that that is taking quite a lot of time. So that is a matter for concern,” he said.
Lord Kerslake, head of the home civil service from2012 to 2014, said in a letter to The Times that the government’s readiness for Brexit was in question. He added: ”I have no doubt about the underlying commitment and skills of the civil service to serve the government well on Brexit. But to do this they need to be clearly led, resourced properly to do the job and listened to even when their advice is not welcome.”
This is doubly bad for the Tories, not only because we all know the criticism is deserved, but because low morale will make it even harder for the government to get its work done.
The incompetence of this government is now in plain sight