Een kijkje achter de schermen, hoort dit ook bij de befaamde Britse humor?
May and Johnson hung civil servants out to dry, report finds
The independent thinktank the Institute for Government (IfG) spent months talking in confidence to Whitehall sources including officials, ministers and special advisers, to shine a light on the behind-the-scenes experience of some of those involved in one of the most controversial chapters in British political history.
Among the moments highlighted by the study was when Johnson put civil servants in an “immensely difficult position” last October when he threatened to leave the EU without a deal in breach of the Benn Act. “Under the civil service code 33, civil servants cannot help ministers break the law,” says its report, The Civil Service After Brexit.
On a more prosaic level it also reveals the difficult decision-making and sheer exhaustion suffered by officials in the run-up to the first Brexit deadline of 29 March last year. It tells of civil servants “huddling round” a single printout of a complex and lengthy no-deal tariff schedule because of anxiety about leaks, of staff having to go to dark rooms to access documents on secure computers, and how a generous offer of “firebreak” holiday after the second no-deal deadline on 12 April 2019 led to droves quitting their jobs unable to face a return to the Brexit bedlam.
Maddy Thimont Jack, senior researcher at the Institute for Government, said: “Brexit demonstrated the very best of the civil service. It managed to unpick a 47-year relationship with the EU in less than three years, working under immense pressure and to extremely tight timelines. But the task is still not complete and the tensions that Brexit exposed – particularly, between ministers and officials – have not necessarily gone away.”
Those who spoke to the thinktank heavily criticised May’s relationship with the civil service. She did not offer any “significant protection” to Robbins after he was openly attacked by hardline Brexiters, accused of “freelancing” and peddling a pro-EU line in Brussels.