Imagine making a gaffe so bad that even David Davis was shocked – that was the astonishing feat achieved by Brexit minister Steve Baker today.

Davis could be seen grimacing like a Brexit bulldog chewing a wasp as Baker gave credence to a Chinese whisper that civil servants cooked the numbers in the leaked impact study.

Jacob Rees-Mogg put the claim to Baker at Brexit questions in the Commons. He said:

“Will the Minister confirm that he heard from Charles Grant of the Centre of European Research that officials in the Treasury have deliberately developed a model to show that all options other than saying in the Customs Union were bad and that officials intended to use this to influence policy.”

To the astonishment of MPs, Baker replied:

“I’m sorry to say that my Hon. Friend’s account is essentially correct.”

Now watch his boss’ reaction:

It was Baker’s second attack on the civil service in a single week.

On Tuesday he was asked by another Brexiteer Tory MP whether he could “name a single civil service forecast, leaked or otherwise, that has been accurate?”

He replied: “No, I am not able to name an accurate forecast. They are always wrong, and wrong for good reasons.”

Those comments provoked a furious response from the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants.

General secretary Dave Penman called his comments an “insult the dedicated professionals working in his department” and asked: “How can a minister prepared to undermine the government he serves retain the confidence of the Prime Minister?”

Probably wouldn’t ask anyone to make you a cup of tea back at the office, Steve…

MORE: Steve Baker says leaked analysis showing Britain will be worse off after Brexit is “good news”

  1. I can only assume that you are deliberately misrepresenting what was said, because I can’t believe that you didnt understand it.

    He confirmed that HE HAD HEARD the statement made by Charles Twatfordbottom, not that the statement was correct. As such, he did not attack the civil service and did not give the information any credence, although that accusation could be pretty fairly levelled at Grease Smogg, who clearly was attempting to besmirch the civil service by creating the smoke without fire.

  2. @Auwyn

    Steve Baker EVENTUALLY “confirmed that HE HAD HEARD the statement” made by Charles Grant, not that the statement was correct.

    But he started off by saying, in response to Jacob Rees-Mogg ,“I’m sorry to say that my Hon. Friend’s account is essentially correct.” Which clearly implies that the insinuation implicit in Rees-Mogg’s question was “essentially correct”.

    Or else why would he say that he was “sorry to say” that he’d heard a statement made by Charles Grant?

  3. Charles Mclaughlin says:

    He had heard…..there is nothing like third hand knowledge. Why if lack of impartiality of civil servants is so evil, did he not attrack them for their lack of impartiality during the Scottish Referendum and now seek an explanation from the current Scottish Secretary as to why he has hired almost 100 civil servants for his department when in the past it functioned adequately on 5 members of staff including himself. Empire building or empire consolidation?

  4. Charles Mclaughlin says:

    He had heard…..there is nothing like third hand knowledge. Why, if lack of impartiality of civil servants is so evil, did he not attrack them for their lack of impartiality during the Scottish Referendum and now seek an explanation from the current Scottish Secretary as to why he has hired almost 100 civil servants for his department when in the past it functioned adequately on 5 members of staff including himself. Empire building or empire consolidation?

  5. This was a reference to a lunch that Charles Grant attended and was recorded. Charles Grant made no such claim. So both Rees-Mogg and Baker are lying.

  6. This entire Brexit has been a total embarrassment. Davis doesn’t have a clue about anything, he is essentially lazy and often the worse for wear according to those that work closely with him. The entire government is made up of lightweights…not any with heft or great intelligence. The government lurches from one disaster to another. Cries of ‘Make Britain Great Again’ and ‘Lets take back our country’ really have no meaning when we have sold all the family jewels including water, electricity, gas, railways and soon the entire NHS to foreign countries….we own nothing, most of London is now owned by Russians, Saudi’s and the Chinese….we are the only EU country owned almost entirely by non nationals.

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