Former civil service chiefs warn of threat to officials’ neutrality - People's Vote

Former civil service chiefs warn of threat to officials’ neutrality

Rachel Sylvester has tonight reported in The Times that minutes from last week’s Cabinet, written by the Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, suggest that ministers discussed how they were “committed to delivering Brexit — not to do so would be damaging to the Conservative Party”.

Responding, the former heads of both the home and the diplomatic civil services have this evening both warned of the threat to the neutrality of the civil service the Government’s reported behaviour poses.

Lord Kerr, the former head of HM Diplomatic Service, said: “They do what their political masters tell them but morale is low because most people fear that what they are doing is going to be hostile to the economic wellbeing of the country. The prime minister looks as if trying to hold the party together is her primary concern.”

Lord Kerslake, the former Head of the Home Civil Service, said: “The civil service have a loyalty to the government of the day but they are also servants of the crown and the country. Normally there isn’t a conflict because you expect the government to act on behalf of the country but in the situation we are now in, where the interests of the Conservative Party are not necessarily the same as the interests of the country and the consequences are so grave, I do feel that their responsibility to crown and country needs to play in.”

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Notes to editors 

Rachel Sylvester’s column can be read here:  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/may-s-party-first-policy-could-come-back-to-haunt-her-2q88tc5jp