The union boss responsible for the most senior civil servants in the UK says his members are struggling to cope with the complexities of Brexit on limited resources.
The government, said Dave Penman, interpreted any public comments as criticism and this was preventing open discussion about the issues.
Ministers “lack the political courage” to admit the process will be complex and time-consuming, said Mr Penman, the general secretary of the FDA (First Division Association).
The civil service would have to be given more resources to deal with Brexit and do its usual work at the same time or it would have to change its priorities.
“Government doesn’t want to admit to either,” he said.
Civil servants in only two government departments (international trade and the Foreign Office) had been given extra resources, said Mr Penman.
If no further resources could be made available for Brexit then the Prime Minister would “have to drop something.”
Mr Penman added: “Something is going to have to give and it is not going to be Brexit.”