26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Truss challenges PS ‘group-think’

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A leaked document has revealed that United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss once urged a key Prime Ministerial adviser to scrap hundreds of ‘woke’ Public Service roles in an attack on Whitehall ‘group-think’.

Her call came in 2020 when she was International Trade Secretary.

According to the document, Ms Truss’ office called for the abolition of diversity and inclusion roles in the Public Service.

Her office reportedly signed off the document to Dominic Cummings, who was then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser.

Ms Truss (pictured) is currently the front-runner to succeed Mr Johnson, and a source close to her said the document represented how she would seek to govern if she became Prime Minister.

“As Prime Minister, Liz will not be captured by the Whitehall and Treasury orthodoxy,” the source said.

“She’ll push ahead with tough reforms and get things through the labyrinthine Whitehall system,” they said.

“She’s absolutely the person who will get things done and challenge Civil Service group-think.”

The document called for a greater politicisation of the Public Service, saying its upper ranks “lack political understanding and a tendency towards liberal group-think resulting in significant delays in delivering Ministerial priorities”.

On diversity and inclusion, it said the Public Service team administering this should be scrapped.

Meanwhile, reports that Attorney General, Suella Braverman has banned lawyers in her Department from rejecting policies as unlawful without an indication of whether they will be successful or not, were later denied by her office.

A spokesperson said Public Service lawyers would instead be told to give “solutions-based advice” when challenging a policy’s legality.

This follows disagreements within her Department over the plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda, which has been denounced as unsafe and inhumane.

Lawyers who regularly dismiss policies as unlawful have been accused of being “overly cautious” and “getting in the way of the Government’s policy agenda instead of thinking creatively to push through ideas”.

London, 1 August 2022

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