Head of the UK Civil Service refuses to pass information to pro-Brexit Cabinet Ministers

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UK Government
Sir Jeremy Heywood Head of the Civil Service

SIR JEREMY Heywood has been called before the Public Administration Committee chaired by a pro-Brexit MP on March 1 to explain why he has issued instructions to members of the civil service to deny access to forthcoming papers on Europe.

As head of the civil service, it is his role to instruct all civil servants on procedural matters and as it is government policy that Britain should remain within the European Union, then all civil servants must support this position when undertaking their work, despite any personal beliefs they may have.

The substance of his guidance therefore is that ministers who are in opposition to this policy should not be given access to government papers on the referendum or EU renegotiations  except for those they had previously seen before ‘coming out’.

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Quite understandably, this has infuriated the five cabinet ministers who are pro-Brexit as well as other MPs and in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith made it clear that if he is to be able to undertake his role properly then he needs access to all official documents unless and until he is removed from his position.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well as I have suspected, this shows you the underhanded tactics that DC will use to influence the outcome of the referendum, what happened to democracy… just as in the EU it is being taken away in the UK too if the people who run the country feel it doesn’t work for them, this alone is enough to vote to leave!

  2. On thinking about this I wonder if it is to do about new regulation the EU are currently working on, I read that ‘I think it was’ Hungary where pushing to have some new EU legislation brought to Brussels parliament for discussion ASAP to allow time for it to be discussed properly before the forecast implementation date while the EU was holding back on discussing that information in Brussels parliament until the UK referendum as they didn’t want it to push more people vote to leave, I wonder if this ‘along with other information’ that might be useful to the out campaign is the reason access is being restricted? Anyway… whatever it is it, it’s a disgrace.

  3. Sir Jeremy, the head of the supposedly “impartial” civil service took exactly the same attitude against the Scottish separatist politicians in the run up to the Scottish referendum. It just wasn’t so well reported in the media.

    This “public servant” made statements showing that he supported one side only and he even went as far as issuing instructions to ALL his staff to support the “in” camp. This became a particularly thorny issue for all the Scottish civil servants working in the Scottish parliament on behalf of the SNP government and resulted in wide scale protests. Plus ça change. Plus c’est le même chose.

    Any notion that the civil service is impartial is fiction – at least as long as Sir Jeremy is in charge. Shades of “Yes Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister” Sir Humphrey, but more sinister and less funny.

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