Published on 8 Mar 2016

EU referendum and Whitehall slumbers

You might have thought that today’s Cabinet would see fireworks, not least as it was preceded by a meeting of Political Cabinet with Boris Johnson turning up. But Mr Johnson had nothing to say. The earlier political session was dominated by party restructuring and the state of the economy. After the Mayor left, the Cabinet itself was no less exciting with a presentation by the Culture Secretary on BBC Charter Renewal and some discussion on anti-corruption measures. One round the table didn’t think the European Union was mentioned once in two hours of chat. 

boris

And this, one Cabinet minister said, could be a bad omen of how government will go for the next few months, everyone “skirting around” issues that are too controversial.  

There’s a growing list of issues that have been pushed back to the other side of the referendum for fear they might just have unintended consequences boosting the Leave vote. One Whitehall source has even suggested that the Chilcot Report could be swept up in that damage limitation exercise. The same source points out that the report itself may have doubled in size by word count in the last six months as the Inquiry team incorporated new lines of inquiry thrown up by individuals notified of criticism in the Maxwellisation process and reflected rebuttals that came back from individuals politicians, officials or service people and their legal teams.

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3 reader comments

  1. Andrew Dundas says:

    Isn’t the Tory Party now as split as it has never been before?
    No. It’s only as split as the Tory Party was about Repeal of the Corn Laws.
    Which kept them out of office for many years. At least David Cameron has achieved that.

  2. Alan Grimes says:

    The Brexit supporters say we should leave the E.U. and return “democracy and accountability” to Britain. But what “democracy and accountability”? The current government has only 37% support, the last Labour government had only 35% support, millions of people vote and get no representation in Parliament, and where is the accountability in safe seats, or the unelected House of Lords, or the unelected monarch? British politicians and the main political parties are held in contempt by the British public. All this is thanks to a cheating voting system and an archaic political system.

    Compare this situation to the European Parliament, where all M.E.P.s are elected by a proportional voting system, and therefore nearly every voter has an M.E.P. who genuinely speaks and votes on the voters’ behalf.

    I do have an M.E.P. of my choice in Europe (and yes I do know who it is!), but I don’t have an M.P. of my choice at Westminster. So as far as I’m concerned you can throw Westminster and Whitehall in the Thames, and transfer all powers to Strasbourg and Brussels. I’d rather be run by Europe! I shall be voting to stay in Europe, because I want “democracy and accountability”! And I urge others to do the same, if you believe in “democracy and accountability”.

    1. Flivoless says:

      Who exactly, in the higher echelons of the EU is accountable and to whom.

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