Archive for the ‘Civil service’ Category

Hopes of clean break with EU are nonsense, says ex-Brexit official

A no-deal exit would trigger complex negotiations, argues former top DexEU civil servant

Claiming a no-deal Brexit represents a clean break with the European Union is “nonsensical”, according to Philip Rycroft, the former permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU.

Boris Johnson has promised to extricate the UK from the EU on 31 October “come what may” – and has hinted that he could try to get around legislation mandating him to request a Brexit delay.

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Cheap booze and fags: the last gasp of government health policy | Richard Vize

Drowning our sorrows in duty-free whisky may be the only way to cope but as official policy, it stinks

In a government gearing up for an election, where every statement is supposed to be choreographed as part of a finely tuned grid of speeches and events, it takes a particular stupidity for the chancellor, Sajid Javid, to extol the virtues of cheap cigarettes and booze just as the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, was heading for Public Health England’s annual conference.

Having alighted upon what he regards as unequivocally good news about leaving the EU without a deal, Javid announced on Tuesday that people travelling to Europe will be able to buy alcohol and cigarettes without paying UK excise duty.

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The Guardian view on Yellowhammer: the ugly truth about a no-deal Brexit | Editorial

Ministers insist it is a worst-case scenario. But with no new deal in sight, the dangers set out in a document they wanted to hide must be taken seriously

Even for a government that prides itself on high-handedness, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s vicious attack on consultant neurologist David Nicholl was a low point. Dr Nicholl, who drew up a risk register for the newly released Yellowhammer no-deal Brexit planning document, asked Mr Rees-Mogg, on live radio, what “level of mortality” he would regard as an acceptable price for leaving the European Union with no arrangements in place. Since this was a direct challenge to ministers’ strategy of trying to normalise what should be unthinkable, Mr Rees-Mogg’s anger was not surprising. His insolence, however, in comparing Dr Nicholl to the struck-off anti-vaccination campaigner Andrew Wakefield, proved too much for his frontbench colleagues and Mr Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise.

Now that Yellowhammer has been published, it is clear why Dr Nicholl felt compelled to confront him. No-deal Brexit is a recipe for chaos, with medical supply shortages near the top of a list of consequences that are already scaring people around the country. While the long-term impact of a bitter divorce is strategically more damaging than any initial shocks, even voters tempted to buy into Mr Johnson’s no-deal bluster could be put off by the prospect of two-day traffic jams, energy price rises, civil unrest or a lack of clean water.

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Civil service union tells PM: don’t make our members break the law

Exclusive: FDA head demands assurances over Brexit act if government defies parliament

Senior civil servants could be forced to break the law and face the possibility of prosecution if they help Boris Johnson’s government defy the will of parliament, their union has warned.

After No 10’s insistence the government would not comply with an act designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit, the union has written to the prime minister demanding public assurances that Whitehall staff will not be asked to break the law or the civil service code.

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