May Imposes Authority on Whitehall

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Much has been made of Theresa May’s formidable joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill rigorously vetting new SpAd appointments. This isn’t really that out of the ordinary, Ed Llewellyn would do likewise during the Cameron era. What has changed under the new regime is the level of control exerted over everyday life on Whitehall. Over the couple of weeks Downing Street has imposed its authority on government departments, insisting that everything from minor campaign launches to bog standard press releases go through Number 10 first. Departments were used to a far higher degree of autonomy, now everything has to be signed off. To some it has felt like a slightly suffocating centralisation of power. Sensible for the first few weeks perhaps, but ministers are hoping the PM loosens her grip once she is settled in…

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