Jacob Rees-Mogg has just unveiled the government’s new, publicly available “Brexit Freedoms Dashboard“, which will allow users to count down and track the government’s reforms to over 2400 pieces of EU legislation still clogging up the UK’s statute books. Watch in real-time as the government cuts through EU red tape, law by law…
The comprehensive table organises the legislation by policy area – of which there are over 300 – and department, allowing the public to keep an eye on the parts of Whitehall still playing by Brussels’ rules. For now, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is at the top with 570 retained EU laws…
Announcing the move today, Rees-Mogg said:
“This dashboard is the supply-side reformer’s El Dorado and, naturally, I am pointing to the treasure trove of opportunity this publication represents… Using our new found freedom to address the over 2400 retained EU pieces of legislation on our statute book, Her Majesty’s Government will be able to remove and amend regulation that is not right for the UK.”
The dashboard will soon be followed by the Brexit Freedoms Bill, which will “allow retained EU law to be amended in a more sustainable way and goes with the grain of the British constitution.” Guido’s keeping score…
Jacob Rees-Mogg last night dodged questions about whether he now supports a windfall tax, after months of attacking Labour’s policy. In recent weeks we’ve heard free market favouring Jacob say it is “not true” that there is “this honey pot of business you can just raid whenever you feel like”, and “I think the idea of a windfall tax as a panacea to the inflation problem is wrong.” He’s in the unenviable position of being in a government doing just that…
On Beth Rigby’s show he could merely bring himself to say he supports collective ministerial responsibility, and celebrate that the tax isn’t retrospective. According to The Times, Rees-Mogg raised concerns in Cabinet yesterday, suggesting “the package would be better funded by reducing government spending on infrastructure projects.” The paper puts BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in this camp as well, with him telling allies he’s particularly concerned by BP’s announcement that it’s reviewing its plans to invest in the North Sea. Guido agrees with the anonymous cabinet minister who said “The politics of this is just so bad. We voted against it, we marched the whole party up the hill and are now taking them back down again. It looks like we’re being dictated to by Labour”…
Even Boris had a laugh at that one…
The scale of Whitehall opposition to government policy is far from limited to Home Office mandarins threatening to ‘resist’ Priti’s Rwanda plans. Civil Service union chiefs have already voiced their displeasure at having to work from the office again, and now, it turns out the opposition is coming directly from the top of No. 10. This morning a co-conspirator spotted that Helen Lederer, Downing Street’s Head of Corporate Services, recently liked a post on LinkedIn – for all her 1,234 LinkedIn followers to see – bemoaning how awful not working from home is:
Compare this to the brouhaha over Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “sorry I missed you” leaflets, which instantly made headlines on Friday evening. Despite the mass coverage, Guido hears Mogg actually printed just three of these notices; the speed one of them was leaked tells you the scale of opposition civil servants are mounting to what is officially-stated government policy. Guido’s already pontificated about the ideological rot within the increasingly rebellious Civil Service, he won’t labour the point…
Compare what Mogg actually said:
AM: Let me turn then to the facts, because you describe what happened, the reaction, what happened as ‘fluff’. I buried my father on the week that one of those parties took place and it was a party, And he was an elder of the Church of Scotland. That church was locked and barred and we had a small gathering. Most of the family weren’t there. The other parishioners that he would love to have been there weren’t allowed to be there because we followed the rules. And I felt intensely angry about that. And I do not regard this as ‘fluff’.
JRM: Well. so two things. One is that I think closing the churches was in retrospect a great mistake. I do not think churches should be closed.
AM: We can agree about that. But do you regret the use of that word ‘fluff’?
JRM: The great saint whose body is in Westminster Cathedral, St. John Southworth, ministered to plague victims in the 1650s. And the mission of the church, I think, was made harder by closing the churches. But as regards what is happening now two years on, against what is going on in Ukraine, what is going on with cost of living crisis, one has to get a sense of perspective. What is going on in Ukraine is fundamental to the security of the Western world.
AM: It is, but I’m sorry-
JRM: And you are comparing this-
AM: If I may-
JRM: You are comparing this- no, I’m telling you why I said what I said. You are comparing this to a fine issued for something that happened two years ago, where the police have come to a view and they’ve come to a view that the Prime Minister has accepted, but which he thought at the time was within the rules. So I think we need to look at what is fundamental to the security of our nation and the security of the Western world.
AM: I’m really sorry, but thinking about what happened to my family – and I only use that because it happened to so many others up and down the country, similar kinds of things – and we find, I would say, that word ‘fluff’ quite offensive.
JRM: The Prime Minister set out, in his statement, how sorry he was for what happened and for making a mistake. But I still think that in comparison with the war in Ukraine, with a fundamental threat to the safety of the west from Putin, a fine for something that happened two years ago is not the most pressing political matter.
AM: Do you regret the use of the word ‘fluff’?
No, I don’t. I think it is getting a sense of proportion. The Daily Mail headline said ‘don’t forget there is a war on’ and this I think, is something we need to remember. We need a sense of perspective. That’s not to say that the Prime Minister and everybody, doesn’t have enormous sympathy for people whose family members died from COVID that- All deaths are sadnesses for they afflict, in all circumstances.
AM: So let’s talk about the word ‘contrition’. You’re a man of faith, you understand what contrition means, and you know the Prime Minister very well. Is he saying sorry for the fact that happened and people got cross about them, or is he actually sorry for his own behaviour? Is he contrite about his own behaviour, in your view?
JRM: I think he’s deeply contrite and I think he would not have had the event had he thought it broke the rules. He’s contrite because he made a mistake. And he has admitted that in the House of Commons today, I think his contrition is very genuine.
To how the Mirror is reporting his response:
Absolutely atrocious context stripping…
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s efforts to rein in wasteful Whitehall are continuing in earnest, with a new league table published today revealing the percentage of civil servants working from the office during the week beginning April 4. Naming and shaming the worst performers…
Mogg is asking Ministers to send him new data every fortnight, so these figures will be updated regularly with the hope of pulling every department back up to near-full capacity. The Department for International Trade and DHSC are at the top end, with nearly three-quarters back in the office, while Education and DWP are way down at the bottom, barely managing to take back a quarter of the workforce. Guido can’t help noticing the departments with the biggest blunders over the last two years are, coincidentally, down in the relegation zone…
Read the full list below:
Department for International Trade – 73%
Department for Health and Social Care – 72%
Cabinet Office 70 Whitehall – 69%
Ministry of Defence – 67%
Ministry of Justice – 48%
Department for Transport – 48%
Her Majesty’s Treasury – 48%
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – 46%
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – 43%
Home Office – 42%
Northern Ireland Office – 36%
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – 35%
Wales Office – 33%
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – 33%
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – 33%
Scotland Office – 32%
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office – 31%
Department for Work and Pensions – 27%
Department for Education – 25%