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Ministerial Code: Civil Service

Volume 732: debated on Thursday 11 May 2023

2. Whether he has held recent discussions with the Prime Minister on the observance of the ministerial code as it relates to the civil service. (904850)

The Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear that Ministers are expected to maintain the highest standards of behaviour at all times in accordance with the ministerial code. Working relationships, including with civil servants, should be professional and appropriate.

Civil servants living in my constituency and across the country feel utterly dismayed that their professionalism and integrity are constantly being undermined by statements from serving and former Ministers, repeated attacks on them and, indeed, the Prime Minister’s failure to condemn what was exposed as bullying and intimidatory behaviour. Does the Minister agree that, given the importance of civil service and ministerial relationships and his role in upholding the ministerial code, phrases such as “activist blob” or a “blizzard of snowflakes” are not in keeping with that code, and what will he do about it?

I rather dispute the premise of the hon. Lady’s question. There is and always should be a professional relationship between civil servants and the Government. We should all ensure that we maintain the impartiality, objectivity and integrity of the civil service. We should support civil servants in doing the important job that they do, which includes upholding the impartiality of the civil service, about which the Opposition have a few things to learn.