Tory MP: Civil Servants Said Britons ‘Got It Wrong’ When They Voted for Brexit

Anti-EU stickers are displayed for sale to delegates attending the UKIP Spring Conference in Llandudno, north Wales, on February 27, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Alicia Kearns MP has claimed that several senior civil servants had told her in 2016 that British citizens “had got it wrong” by voting for Brexit.

Highlighting the long-known anti-Brexit prejudice held by the UK’s career bureaucrats, Ms Kearns said: “I was a civil servant at three Departments. On the day of the Brexit referendum result, I was told at the Foreign Office by multiple senior civil servants that it was the wrong ​decision and that the people had got it wrong.

“Is it not right that sometimes, sadly, Ministers do need to be robust with civil servants to make sure the people’s priorities are always delivered?”

The Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton made the comments in the House of Commons on Monday in a debate on the ongoing rift between the government and the established Civil Service, the latest battle being over allegations that home secretary Priti Patel had bullied Whitehall staff. The Home Office’s most senior civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned on Saturday over the allegations, adding that he was going to sue the department for constructive dismissal.

Mr Rutnam said: “I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands. Behaviour that created fear and needed some bravery to call out.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a “thorough, rapid and independent” Cabinet Office inquiry into the accusations, senior minister Michael Gove confirmed on Monday. Several Tory MPs have defended the Brexiteer home secretary, who like the prime minister is an alumna of the Vote Leave campaign, including health secretary Matt Hancock who called his colleague “robust and determined”.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also defended Ms Patel, comparing her to Margaret Thatcher who had “a pretty robust relationship with the Civil Service in her time”.

“Whos the master? Who’s the servant?” Mr Farage asked.

“This is a Home Office that’s been described as ‘not fit for purpose’… If we’ve got a home secretary who’s in there and is actually kicking backsides and making sure things actually get done… if she upsets one or two senior mandarins, well I personally couldn’t care less,” he added.

Mr Farage had criticised the Civil Service, dubbed the British Deep State by Brexiteers, in 2018, saying they “have been happy to take their orders from Brussels, they are now out to sabotage Brexit. They are indeed the enemy within.”

The Leave campaigner made the remarks after it was revealed that the Civil Service had been wargaming a second referendum and some months earlier had leaked a Brexit “Armageddon” scenario claiming that a no-deal Brexit would result in the collapse of the supply chain for medicine, food, and fuel.

Writing in July after Mr Johnson had become the leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, Breitbart London’s James Delingpole had said that one way Johnson could Make Britain Great Again would be if he drained the Westminster swamp. Delingpole wrote:

A senior Conservative minister once complained to me that it was impossible for the Conservative government to do anything Conservative because the civil service, politicised by Tony Blair, is so irredeemably left-wing.

The rot extends from the nauseatingly right-on (and anti-Trump, pro-EU) Foreign Office to the incompetent and biased Electoral Commission, the Charities Commission, the Information Commission and beyond, plus of course departments such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which are run by doctrinaire eco-loons. This is the Deep State which really runs Britain. Unless Boris can summon the courage and will to tackle it, he will always be fighting his battles with one hand tied behind his back.

 

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