Comments by new Brexit Secretary David David could fuel claims of a turf war for staff with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
At the heart of government
Sure some of it could be hyperbole by a new cabinet minister, but Mr Davis’s written response to a parliamentary question about the staffing of his new Brexit department may reflect a battle with other Whitehall departments for the best civil servants.
‘The new Department will sit at the heart of government and be staffed by the best and brightest from across the civil service and will draw on external expertise if required,’ said the Brexit secretary in response to a question from Labour MP Andy Slaughter.
‘The unit will bring together officials and policy expertise from across the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Foreign Office, Business Department and the wider civil service. The department’s Ministers are based in 9 Downing Street,’ added Mr Davis.
The Brexit department will be led at permanent secretary level by Oliver Robbins, he also confirmed.
Mr Davis’s written response comes after The Times reported on 19th July that the Foreign Office was ‘fighting a turf war’ to stop Mr Davis from poaching its best officials.
Can the real foreign secretary please stand up?
Meanwhile, the claims about the best officials working on Brexit could spark concerns that that talent is being taken off other important schemes and programmes. And that could suggest that Theresa May’s government may have a challenge when it comes to its other priorities alongside delivering on ‘Brexit meaning Brexit’.