“I mean anyone I know even at all well I tend to sign off text messages with ‘love DC’, I don’t know why, I just do. My children tell me that you don’t even need to sign off text messages at all, and that it’s very old-fashioned and odd…but anyway that’s what I do.”
Giving evidence to parliament’s Constitution and Public Affairs Select Committee, Eric Pickles claimed he has been warning ministers and the government about the potential for a scandal involving lobbying and corporate appointments within the civil service for some time, however he didn’t expect it to arise from so high up within Whitehall.
“I have been warning about the possibility of a scandal with regard to this for some time. If I’m being absolutely candid with you, this is not where I expected it to come from.”
Pressed on this, Pickles claims he believed the scandal would come from lower down in the civil service, with 34,000 civil servants leaving in 2020, just 108 of whom were then investigated by ACOBA when taking up new jobs. Pickles is calling for immediate changes, regardless of the No. 10 inquiry: