Fresh from trying to frustrate the government’s plans to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda, Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft has come up with a new tactic: Ignore the democratic will of the government altogether.
A leaked memo, seen by The Telegraph and now published in full by Guido, shows Rycroft dictate the priorities of his department to his hordes of civil servants insubordinate to elected ministers. Namely:
Nothing on immigration numbers, nothing on small boats, nothing on getting Rwanda up and running. The priorities of the government and more importantly the voters are of no consequence to Rycroft.
Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Telegraph, “Permanent secretaries, and all officials, are responsible for making this a reality. One would expect the most senior officials to consider this their duty.” Nigel Farage reacted furiously, calling on Rycroft to be fired.
Despite outrage from the right, a Home Office source said Rycroft is a “great public servant and this isn’t isn’t an over-arching reflection of his or the Home Office’s priorities.” It’s an easy get out for the Tories after 13 years of government to blame lack of policy progress on the civil service working against them, but can anyone name one example of right wing sympathies within the institution?
UPDATE: A Home Office spokesperson says tersely:
“The Permanent Secretary works tirelessly to drive Home Office efforts to tackle the public’s priorities, including stopping illegal migration, cutting crime, supporting vulnerable people and protecting homeland security.”