The official and the political government

One of the difficult things any Minister has to grasp and handle is the distinction between their government roles and their political roles.

In the UK if a Minister wishes to act as a Minister, changing policies, spending government money or leading the administration in their department, they need to do so working with the relevant officials, and keeping the department and the wider government informed of their actions. Cabinet members have various delegated powers to spend  money and change policies, and in some cases Statutory powers to operate in a quasi judicial capacity without consulting other departments and colleagues. Any major decision or decision that has an impact on other departments needs to be cleared in correspondence or debated at Cabinet or Cabinet Committee unless it is a decision solely entrusted to a named Secretary of State.

If a Minister wishes to be involved in a local or national election, wants to change Manifesto policy for their party, wishes to attend a political function or otherwise act as a party politician they must not involve the civil service. They may not normally use a government car to get to the event unless there is a security need to do so. They have no duty to report the matter to the government machine, and will only tell the official government of decisions or problems that they come across at any such event  that are relevant for the government to consider.

If a Minister travels abroad and wants to meet senior representatives of a foreign government it is normal to advise the Foreign Office and to study any brief they send so that the Minister sticks to the government view of the issues that relate to the UK’s relationship with that country. If a Minister goes abroad for a holiday or to visit friends and family there is not usually any need to consult the Foreign Office or to understand  the government line on all the issues, as the Minister is not speaking as a Minister or becoming involved in public policy. If a Minister goes to a foreign country to participate only in a conference or series of  meetings that are clearly party political, again they cannot use government assistance and do not have to tell officials.

Various officials in Whitehall clearly do not like Priti Patel for whatever reason. They started briefing against her, claiming she had held meetings when on holiday in Israel that should have been reported to the Foreign Office, and cleared in advance of holding them. The Prime Minister was brought in to adjudicate. According to the press she asked for a full statement of what Priti Patel had done on holiday and told her she should not  freelance in this way. When it subsequently emerged that the Minister had not made a full statement of what she had done, the Prime Minister clearly decided to take further action.

It is ultimately for the PM’s judgement whether any given meeting or event was a political or an official one, and whether any given Minister has stepped too far from government policy in what they have said and done. It is clearly best if Ministers can work well with their officials, or can at least trust the official machine with details of their activities. It can also be the case that sometimes officials have their own reasons for wanting to criticise their Minister through unofficial and anonymous briefings, or by report to the Prime Minister. Only the Prime Minister can ultimately decide the merit of these criticisms. Establishing control when something has gone wrong is not easy. Some say sacking the Minister gives the PM control, but it also gives a win to the officials who wanted the Minister out.

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156 Comments

  1. Duncan
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Your leader (the party leader you and your colleagues chose and backed John, to your shame) and, unfortunately for my country, this grotesque PM and her pro-EU acolytes that have seeped into the heart of every British institution including the partisan and treacherous British civil service are determined to target and undermine Brexit politicians and Brexit Ministers of the Crown.

    The superb Priti Patel is one of the first victims of
    this clique’s unofficial policy of slandering and tarnishing politicians that represent a threat to the aims and objectives of pro-EU government officials

    For Brexit supporting Tory MP’s to remain silent on these faceless civil servants is nothing short of a disgrace. Democracy expressed its view in 2015. It decided that we should leave the EU in its entirety. We are now faced with a situation in which various government officials, politicians of all sides, government ministers and indeed this appalling PM are openly conspiring to circumvent that momentous decision

    The breathtaking arrogance is on display and there for all to see. These people cannot be removed, cannot be sacked, cannot be influenced. They are a law unto themselves and their open contempt for the decision taken by the British public some months ago is jaw dropping

    Bring on the next election. What is needed are UKIP MP’s in the commons. Elected politicians who are wedded to and prepared to force this government and its leader to implement the result of the EU referendum.

    It is becoming obvious to me that every Tory Brexit supporting MP has no intention of trying to bring down this liberal left, pro-EU PM.

    There’s a public sector mentality at work in today’s politics. It’s the embracing of a culture that despises change, encourages more pay and pensions for less work and fights to keep its privileges at all costs. It is all on display and there for all to see.

    Pensions trump principles is the motto of contemporary British politics

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    It is interesting to read this analysis, doubtless far more will come out.

    How much longer can May remain in office given this chaos. It seem we will, in under two week time have another totally misguided budget, will she and Hammond even survive that?

    Two excellent articles in the Spectator this morning, from Charles Moore and Rod Liddle, essentially about the dreadful BBC.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/if-the-duchy-of-lancaster-has-been-so-bad-why-didnt-labour-notice-before/

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/when-the-liberal-media-omit-a-crucial-fact-its-always-worth-dwelling-on/

    • Hope
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I prefer the report that EU demands the U.K. States how much it will pay it within three weeks. Nothing springs to mind. At the most fulfil budget until 2020 to show good faith to trade. Take it or leave it.

      It will also mean the UK will be subject to EU laws, budget constraints, freedom of movement, oversight and supervision during any extension period without any say whatsoever. That sounds a bad deal to me and should be rejected as no deal is better than a bad deal.

      It would mean the EU could manipulate the UK to accepting many poor decisions from which it could not unshackle itself to trade with the rest of the world after we leave. Another two years would mean uncertainty within that period and beyond. Clean break from March 2019, business has had long enough to plan and change.

      If May wants to unite and the country to rally behind her, deliver Brexit as we voted for not any specious extension to change our minds. Tackle head on those inisters and former who are trying to subvert the will of the peopl and govt.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      An excellent podcast by James Delingpole with Norman Tebbit released today. If only Tebbit was 30 years younger can we not clone a few copies?

      Interestingly he said only one person in the Thatcher Cabinet voted against recovery the Falklands, leaving us to work out which one.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        recovery of the Falklands

    • Mark B
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      At last ! My post from yesterday has finally gone up ! It’s a miracle !

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I had not realised Priti Patel had coauthored the book the book ‘Britannia Unchained’ (by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss), I think I have it somewhere, perhaps I shall now have to read it.

    Wiki says the authors lament the relatively low number of students who study mathematics at A Level, which they say is 15% in the UK, contrasting it with Japan where 85% study the subject at a similar level. They are surely right and A level maths in the UK now is more like the Addition Maths O level I did at 16. You really need to do Further Maths A level to get a decent grasp of the subject now.

    The other large advantage Japan has is about 1/15 of the number of lawyers we have in the UK. 14 out of 15 could thus easily be released to do something rather more productive (less destructive even) if we have a sensible legal system. This applies to many other areas too. tax advice, HR and all sorts of expensive “dealing with pointless red tape consultants”.

    • Hope
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I read with interest the five wise men advising Merkel a delay in Brexit until 2020 would be wise! The EU parliament claiming unless the auK pay benefits indefinitely to Eau citizens, and children, living abroad then it will black Brexit.

      It strikes me former ministers, former and current civil servants are undermining the govt and the public will to leave the EU. ODonnel using inflammatory language equating our country to Catalonia. If the heads of the civil service and secret service are like this then the govt would be best advised to leave now without further ado.

      I find it difficult to accept the secret service would not be aware that Priti Patel was meeting these people and not informing the PM, especially in this part of the world. If for no other reason than security risks to a minister of state. This stinks. The whole truth has not come out. Time ministers had a clear out in their departments of civil servants, starting with the PM and Jeremy Hayward.

      • bigneil
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        ” The whole truth has not come out.” Thanks for the laugh. Has the truth EVER come out of govt ? -Answers on a very tiny stamp please.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
      • Hope
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        What I would be asking from my security services is if there is any home grown subversive element trying to destabilise my govt including former security service heads with close links to previous govt heads. I would be rooting out all subversive elements no matter who they are or what former links to govt they had.

        I would start with those seen earlier in the year in newspapers having dinner together.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Hope,

          I regard every remainer or EU lover a subversive element whether by design, in the case of the political class, or in the case of ordinary folk, by allowing themselves to be duped by the aforementioned. They who would do this nation down, pervert the truth, and throw obstacles in our way in order to chain us to an anti-democratic monolith that doesn’t work – except for Germany!

          Tad

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Baroness Scotland was given loads of airtime just now on BBC news suggesting hurricanes are increasing due to “climate change”. There was no sensible questioning of this nonsense from the BBC. Hopefully the UK Statistics Authority will point out the real statistics to her but I doubt it they seem to be selective.

        Anyway what is the best way forwards:

        A. Cut atmospheric co2 (at huge cost) and hope (against all the evidence and science) that it will give far fewer strong hurricanes which building flimsy houses

        or B . build stronger houses in these areas with safe cellars satisfactory insurance on them.

        B would surely cost less that one millionth of A and A will not work anyway.

  4. Javelin
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    The Foreign Office is pro Remain. They were briefing against her.

    The Foreign Office plan was to put Boris on the back foot by leaking a story against him then to weaken him before attacking Priti.

    This is simply the UK deep state moving against Brexit.

    I understand Guido may have a spreadsheet with the names of civil servants who have formed a secret society to undermine the referendum.

    • stred
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      It seems they are being Nudged out. One further point. If you were the PM of Israel and heard that Priti Patel and Alistair Burt were around, separately, who would you chose to have a meeting with?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Whether or not someone briefed against her does not matter. She got involved in foreign policy issues of a rather sensitive kind and in a way possibly at odds with established Cabinet policy. Being shown around controversial locations -with local press coverage-, visiting the PM of a country, all of that in the presence of a well known lobbyist for foreign policy change, is not what most people would call a holiday. Her position on Brexit is irrelevant and this clearly did not further her particular Brexit cause. Stupid and ill considered.

      • Hope
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Utter rubbish. It would be inconceivable that our security service and PM would not know. Do you honestly believe a minister of state would holiday in Israel and it would pose any question about security risks etc. Get real. In this country any royal or VIP visit, whether formal or informal, would attract a security assessment whether. I am surprised true journalists have. It looked among the weeds, unless of course they are being used for propaganda to support the aim.

        What I would be asking from my security services is if there is any home grown subversive element trying to destabilise my govt including former security service heads with close links to previous govt heads. I would be rooting out all subversive elements no matter who they are or what former links to govt they had.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Do you have any security services? Ever had any?

      • stred
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Foreign policy issues of a sensitive kind? Like helping out with the Israeli army field hospitals that are treating injured Syrians- how awful, Momentum wouldn’t like that. Or perhaps being called back from Africa when she was going to offer pneumonia vaccines for all their babies, like the one on the BBC last week. That would be at odds with the unfortunate fact that the NHS has run out of it and there is a long wait and the Australian flu is on its way. The Israelis must think we need psychiatric aid.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          I am no friend of Momentum. Not at all. But someone who hits the headlines of Israeli newspapers while “on holiday” is clearly involved in some form of work that should be handled by diplomats and Ms Patel may be glamorous, but she is not a diplomat. You are not suggesting that she was tasked to travel to the Golan? Apart from the hospital that was supposed to cater for “refugees”. Again, any connection between her actions and Brexit escapes me. To what extent the Brexit controversies were behind her departure from the Cabinet is another matter. It appears her replacement is as faithful to the cause, so that could not be the reason.

          • stred
            Posted November 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

            Oh dear Rien. She went on a working holiday with Friends of Israel, an ally, and they are pleased to show her some real refugees being treated on a field hospital near the border, which has been there for 50 years. Is she supposed to refuse to see injured people because some blimp in the Foreign Office might not approve or Mrs May hasn’t given her a piece of paper?

      • NickC
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Rein said: “… this clearly did not further her particular Brexit cause. Stupid …”. That says more about Remains than it does about Patel.

    • Nig l
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      It would seem that way and the PM has once again shown herself to be weak, albeit she probably thinks this shows she is in charge. I wonder if Ms Patel was also pushing her civil servants hard to be more effective.

      It just goes to show the stupidity of politics, the voters lose a really good operator and role model because of vivid service power struggles. I look forward to a faceless puppet in her place.

      TM should have given her an almighty rollicking then put her arm round explained this publically and that she was on a final warning but she had done such a good job that this time she was being retained.

      The Pinocchio award goes to the FCO.

      • NickC
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Nig 1, I am no fan of the FCO, as I hope I have made clear. But at least they do one valuable job – representing the UK – fairly efficiently. The DfID however is an almost complete drain on this country: at once profligate, ineffective, wasteful, politically-correct, and bad for recipient countries.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      @ javelin

      civil servants who have formed a secret society to undermine the referendum.

      Doesn’t surprise me one bit, you could bet good money on it.

      Time to drain the swamp , it will be the only way to stop the tail wagging the dog.

      • eeyore
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        As Sir Boyle Roche told the Irish Parliament, “Mr Speaker, I smell a rat. I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky. But we’ll nip him in the bud.”

    • Martyn G
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      “The Foreign Office is pro Remain. They were briefing against her”. Indeed, you have said what I was about to in that respect.
      Foolish she may have been, not only in the sense of unauthorised visits to other nations but, regrettably, this valuable Brexiter exposed herself to being sidelined by the establishment. I fear for the future of our talks with the EU – let’s just say ‘goodbye, we’re off’ and see what happens next.

    • zorro
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Not just FO but MI6 too. If anyone thinks that the PM was not informed at the time who PP was meeting with in Israel and whether she was set up or not, I have a bridge to sell you…..

      zorro

    • zorro
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      All CP trained doubtless…..

      zorro

    • Hope
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      The problem I am having with the Westminster sex scandal is how the ministers passed vetting or advice they would have been given to avoid being compromised against national security? Has the PM and opposition asked for their font benchers and close allies to be vetted again to make sure there is. It a security risk to our country?

      Part of the vetting would be, financial, alcohol, drugs, sex etc. To look for weaknesses or vulnerability. Even by his own statements how did Falon pass this test? Moreover a former member of the security forces has already written that some member of Labour would not pass security to get a job in the security services yet could be in charge of them!

      • stred
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        These days we need an MI7 to vet MI5 and 6. Start with a list of training courses and communications with other organizations and supporters of NGOs who want to ‘lead beyond authority’.

        • uncommon purpose
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Stred
          eek !
          “leading beyond authority”
          you know whose motto that is don’t you ?
          I thought vetting was supposed to be the chance to lay out your peccadilloes in order that you couldn’t be blackmailed.

      • zorro
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        You are perhaps under the misapprehension that vetting is there to exclude characters because of what they do or might have done. Vetting is there to find out the details so that they can be used to ‘manage’ the situation and ‘control’ the candidate……

        zorro

    • NickC
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Javelin, Very interesting. I know a senior FCO bod and, whilst I have not been told of a structured association, it is clear that the institutional consensus is that Brexit is “a disaster”.

      Again, Theresa May is shown in a very bad light. Her government is falling to bits. The ongoing appeasement of the EU achieves nothing but our future subjugation.

      If we reach some sort of accommodation with the EU based on the concessions we have made so far, within 5 years the public will excoriate the Tory party as the ramifications become apparent. It is 1972 deja vu, and the principal culprits are the Quisling civil service controlling weak politicians.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      This sounds very plausible to me. Given the issue at stake, namely Brexit, I have no doubt that dirty tricks abound as you say and that Remain forces in parliament and the civil service are working against it. And the EU, and leading figures in it, have openly declared their wish to “punish” the UK for daring to vote to leave. It leads me to conclude that the chances of a break without a trade agreement are high.

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Guys, get real. Patel made it easy for them – she ignored well-established protocol. And the Ministerial code. Not once, but twice. And it won’t be just about Brexit, it will be about the bunfight between FO and DfID, which has been going on since the latter was first set up. Patel just made it easier for them; she was s fool to do so. And on that basis alone, she is a poor Minister and had to go.

      • Peter
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Of course it was Patel’s fault. She took a maverick approach to dealings with a foreign power. Then failed to detail all her meetings.

        Israel was getting a favourable approach from May anyway.

        I suppose this post will be censored. Only supportive comments seem to be allowed on this subject.

    • Bob
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      The fact that there’s a covert political movement trying to overturn the result of the referendum comes as no surprise to me, although I find it worrying that some senior govt ministers are members of it.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “Various officials in Whitehall clearly do not like Priti Patel for whatever reason.”

    For whatever reason ? We know exactly the reason don’t we, same reason they are calling for Boris to resign over his remarks on Iran, they want every Brexit supporter out of cabinet.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      …………….yes, and once they get it!

      Step forward the men (and women) of steel. People who would do our bidding, not the bidding of a foreign entity for their own personal ulterior advancement.

      Tad

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 10, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        “man of steel” -Stalin!

  6. Mark B
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    It can also be the case that sometimes officials have their own reasons for wanting to criticise their Minister . . .

    Then they too should be sacked as they must have official channels or, must strongly advise the Minister, as is their job, against such actions.

    It is clear to me that the reason the Civil Service exists is serve itself and not the nation. I like many here would like the Civil Service reduced greatly in size. We need to make a start and, getting rid of legacy departments like the Scottish Office would send a clear signal of government intent.

  7. Sakara Gold
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    We have so many more pressing issues in the UK than the status of Ms Patel in government – adequately funding the NHS so that we may continue to provide free healthcare to anyone who can get into this country, maintaining strong defence in a challenging world, dealing with the twin deficits etc etc. The Patel issue is a distraction.
    I’m actually starting to be impressed with Michael Gove in Environment. If he does manage to ban insect pollinator-harming pesticides he will have done this country a very far reaching service. Maybe he deserves a promotion to Ms Patel’s position

    • NickC
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Sakara Gold said “adequately funding the NHS so that we may continue to provide free healthcare to anyone who can get into this country”.

      Indeed; that is one among many reasons to leave the EU.

  8. alte fritz
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    You have put in reserved language what many think. I found Ms Patel an effective communicator on air. Her stance on Brexit demonstrated that however much ambition she may have, personal ambition was not the determinant of her stand. Government and the Conservative party will be poorer without her.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed some daft Guardian think lefty “thinker”, on TV today said Patel was called the female Norman Tebbit. I do not think she was remotely that good but certainly she was generally fairly sound.

      Her replacement Penny Mordaunt was at least a Brexit supporter I suppose. But then I see she read Philosophy @ Reading University(?) and worked as a ‘communications director’ for Kensington and Chelsea Council. It really does not sound very encouraging. But let us hope she proves to be excellent and stick to Brexit.

  9. Excalibur
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Unless the pro-Brexit lobby among Members of Parliament and others, gets a grip of the situation, JR, the prospect of leaving the EU apparently recedes daily. The forces arrayed against the democratic will seem to be omnipresent. We assume you are alive to the threats.

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    This is the latest chapter of the establishment trying to derail Brexit.
    As the deadline gets nearer they will become more desperate.
    Mrs May is so weak she doesn’t know what to do.
    If she appoints another remainiac it will be obvious she is set to capitulate.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree that May is weak, but perhaps that suits the remainer’s purpose. Someone who hasn’t got the bottle to deal with these problems, and worse, a person who is really a remainer at heart, can easily be undermined and circumvented. She didn’t do particularly well at the Home Office. We’ve only had one decent Home Secretary in the past fifty-five years (Micheal Howard), so a weakling and a failure is right up their street. She lets them get away with it where a good leader would get it stopped.

      Tad

  11. Richard1
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Officials seem to be running out of control. Is it really acceptable for the NHS civil servant simon Stevens to launch a political campaign for more money for the NHS using the £350m pw slogan of the Leave side in the referendum?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, meanwhile is seems the NHS pay about 50 times the price they should do for rubber gloves (and doubtless loads and loads of other things like many of the staff and all the silly expensive propaganda signs). I have always found Simon Stevens totally unsuitable for the job. The NHS is dire and deteriorating by the day and his job is surely to run it efficiently – not to to constantly demand even more money for it to largely waste.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/08/nhs-spends-16-rubber-gloves-can-bought-35-pence/

      • Richard1
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Interesting. It is difficult to understand why the NHS is in constant crisis when it is forever gorged with money, no amount ever being enough.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Apparently it is perfectly acceptable to Jeremy Hunt, I have seen nothing about any reprimand being given to this civil servant as it should have been.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      We’re watching a program on new medics. Some of the patients seem to be imported middle aged vagrant types. Their poor health is now very much our problem.

    • Original Richard
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      I took Mr.Stevens’ speech to be that he had become a leaver, seen the sense of not giving the EU £10bn/year net, and was now calling for all the money thus saved to be spent upon the NHS.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    If you are aware that officials are likely to be briefing against you, for whatever reason, then surely you tow the official line whilst informing the Prime Minister of your feelings and findings as soon as you have proof positive.

    Not difficult to deal with really, it happens in work and in business all the time, the only real complication and difference is the media, who want to play everything out in public for their own angle on things.

    Shame, Priti promised so much, but seemed to deliver so little.

    Time to completely re think our fixed percentage foreign aid budget programme, where we even thought of giving taxpayers money to the Israel army for so called good works, when many tasks completed by our own armed forces are denied such financial help.

    Speaking to a Foreign Prime Minister without clearing anything first, is just simply Dumb.

    • Hope
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Believe that if you will. Do you not think our security services would want to brief any minister of state formally informally visiting or holidaying in Israel? It is so stupid to even consider a possibility.

      Do you think security arrangements are only made for formal visits or that intelligence ny occurs on certain days of he week? Do yo think security services do not check for subversion or terrorism at home?

      It might make your blood boil when Rudd telas the police chiefs and commissioners not to write to ask for more money as it will fall on deaf ears when it wa revealed within a day at a select committee she is responsible for fifty six thousand immigrants going missing including hundreds of criminals! How do you lose fifty six thousand people? This is on top of the hundreds of thousands lost by May!

      Come on Alan, our view is normally wise and poignant. It would be gullible in the extreme to accept this story.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Hope

        Of course I believe our Ministers are properly briefed before they go on official trips abroad.
        But nothing would surprise me these days about non official trips.

        Our security forces seem so professional on the one hand, but then appear to be absolutely useless in many others.
        Just look at how many undesirables are allowed through passport control into the UK.

        The fact of the matter is Priti Patel was absolutely Dumb to act in the way she did, unless of course she was well and truly set up, but then that would need to go as far as the Prime Minister of Israel, who I have to say I am amazed she got to see, unless something huge was being promised.

    • rose
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Are wounded Syrians on that side of the border not good works, yet they are in Jordan and Lebanon and Turkey? She was only seeking to extend our charity, where it would be effective, not to politicise it. Wouldn’t it be better and less corruptly administered in Israel than in many other parts of the world?

      Similarly, making the Israelis partners in Africa to make the desert bloom was surely an intelligent thing to do. Why on earth did the PM interrupt that work? Just dancing to the media tune as usual.

  13. agricola
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Yes Minister is still alive and well, principally because no politician has the guts to cut the civil service down to size, in every sense of the expression. It is not surprising that these unelected apparatchiks find such affinity with Brussels. I am in no position, through lack of fact, to argue Priti Patel’s case. However I do know that this shaky government has lost a very capable intellect, who is better inside the tent than outside, etc. It would seem that the system you describe is a ball and chain to anyone of independent thought, a realisation you must have come to in the latter half of your political career.

    Most concerning at the moment is the position with the resumed EU negotiation. It seems less a negotiation than a dictation, agree our demands or fail to pass Go. If reports are only half accurate, the EU wants it’s cake and eat it. My attitude drives from their apparent inability to settle the status of resident ex. pats, wherever they may be. Time is fast arriving when we must decide that after 29th March 2019 there will be no cake. It really needs to be made crystal clear that continued obfuscation will leave them empty handed with their trousers round their ankles and an army of continental manufacturers baying for their blood.

  14. Chris
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Wise words, Mr Redwood. The attack on Ms Patel was not an isolated event but instead, in my view, part of a systematic campaign to cause maximum disruption to government, the removal of pro Brexit ministers, and ultimately the betrayal of Brexit. The plotters have made no secret of who they are, nor have they hidden their actions. The equivalent of the deep State in the US is at work here, and they are deadly serious. I still think that Brexiteer MPs do not appreciate how dangerous they are, if their (the Brexiteers) actions to date are anything to go by.

    • am
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      so name them.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    It seems clear that there is a concerted effort in play to bring down this government. The media is largely supportive of this coup and on board. It would seem that the horrors of a Corbyn government are secondary to the need to reverse the EU referendum and keep the UK in the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Correct, that is exactly what is happening. To see that you only have to watch the boundless glee of most of the TV journalists as the latest debacle unfolds and the fall of the government comes closer, at least they fervently hope and pray that it does. Their primary loyalty is to the EU, and they don’t care how much damage they do to this country in their efforts to overturn the referendum vote.

  16. Oggy
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    She was removed because she is a staunch Brexiteer – simple as that. Boris is next on ‘their’ list.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    You highlight the need for reform of these pettifogging protocols. It also shows Mrs. May is no visionary just a plodder. The irony is this department should not exist in the eyes of the “common people”. It is disappointing that Ms Patel didnot do a Heseltine. She has more potential as the next leader than anyone else I am aware of. Conspiracy theory will abound.

  18. Chris S
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Given the high profile and competence of Ms Patel, there is no doubt that this could all have been glossed over had everything been revealed to No 10 earlier. Foreign office officials ( and not Boris ) have clearly worked hard to discredit Ms Patel firstly because she is a Brexiteer and secondly they absolutely resent the DFID being independent of the FCO.

    It’s a pity she has had to go but in the circumstances it was the right decision.
    Michael Fallon has been a complete fool but the loss of neither minister was the fault of the of Teresa May who has dealt with both situations quickly and decisively. What more could the BBC and the Guardian have wanted her to do ?

    I believe the Government and Mrs May are much stronger than is being made out for the simple reason that no sensible Conservative MP wants to see a change of leadership before Brexit. Who would they chose to take over ? Certainly not Boris after his latest gaff.

    Most Conservative MPs must be fearful of the possibility that the vacuum caused by a change of leader might lead to an election.

    Critics forget that, compared with the political situation in Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, we are in a far better place.

  19. a-tracy
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Can May put Priti in the department to work with these officials as an advisor and assistant to the new MP on a complete training course in protocol and officialdom ready for her return?

  20. Gareth
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Come on John, Patel overstepped the mark – not once, but twice. She may be a Leaver, but you know as well as I do that this is an issue of competence too. Once is forgivable, twice isn’t.

    • Peter
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. She was readying herself for the contest to be the next PM. As are many others.

      She probably thought promoting Israeli interests would further her career.

  21. Pat
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Whether or not this has anything to do with Brexit, it has a lot to do with the foreign office wanting to take over the office of overseas development.
    Sadly my impression is that Mrs. May gives too much weight to the views of officials.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Every person – including serving Ministers , are entitled to a private life ; the snag is when a private life impinges on a Government motif , a Minister ought to stick strictly to guidelines . Personal relationships can be a big advantage to intelligence gathering and keep the Government informed of the latest trend ; it’s a tricky position to be in at times , so , the best thing is to always keep the Government informed . Priti Patel failed in this respect and her resignation was necessary .

    There is now an opportunity for Theresa to show her determination in the way she re-shuffles her Cabinet ; if she is wise she will keep Brexit very much in mind and show to the world that she means business . Appointing a ” remainer ” would be a mistake ; The shilly-shallying of Cabinet opinion and the goings on needs to be kept in check ; she badly needs a solid right wing Conservative to add to the negotiating position . I – and everyone else who is subject to the influence of the media , need a message that we are not to messed around with ; the EU has to understand that they are not in the driving seat and we are “out”.

  23. Monza 71
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Watching events from well outside the Westminster bubble, one thing is blindingly obvious.

    Number 10 and the Brexit department are totally failing to get their core message across to the press and the public. Others here, including Denis, have frequently questioned the lack of a rebuttal unit in the Brexit Department but the situation is now getting critical.

    Voters are seeing the Government knocked for six all over Westminster by the BBC, our newspapers and Brussels without seemingly responding at all. The frequent criticisms from Juncker or Verhofstadt go unanswered. Even someone as incompetent as Corbyn occasionally manages to land a blow or two.

    Labour is even more divided on Brexit than the Conservative party which, at least, seems determined to implementing a Brexit of some sort. Yet the Government is totally failing to put Labour, Corbyn and the marxist McDonnell under the spotlight.

    Margaret Thatcher and Heseltine used to demolish Labour with ease. Who can forget that One legged army, Left, Left, Left speech at the party conference ? It would be even more valid now than it was back then. In his old age, Heseltine is now a damned nuisance but we desperately need an orator of the quality he had in his prime.

    If Mrs May totally incompetent communications strategy continues , the polls will move even more decisively against her and the party. This will create huge pressure to give way to Labour ( heaven forbid ) and make the next election almost impossible to win.

    In short, the Conservative party needs to get its PR machine ( if it even has one ) into gear immediately.

    • rose
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      “Voters are seeing the Government knocked for six all over Westminster by the BBC, our newspapers and Brussels without seemingly responding at all. The frequent criticisms from Juncker or Verhofstadt go unanswered. Even someone as incompetent as Corbyn occasionally manages to land a blow or two.”

      And even Iranian broadcasters are being allowed to manipulate us.

  24. Duncan
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    What I find deeply offensive is not the deceitful behaviour and stance of Labour, who are as we all know are indecent in their beliefs and behaviour at every level, but the duplicitous behaviour of Brexit Tory MP’s who have knowingly backed a leader of our party who is Europhile to her very being. Why?

    Many Conservative MP’s who fought and campaigned to secure a NO vote during the EU referendum now back a leader who they know will not deliver on full Brexit. You can only arrive at one inevitable conclusion when confronted with such a decision. That those MP’s who campaigned for a NO vote have betrayed their own principles for the sake of party unity. Well, I’m sorry but the sovereignty and independence of the United Kingdom is infinitely more important than the short term political fortunes of a party that I voted for all my life

    These MP’s have betrayed the UK, their own principles and democracy itself

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      We voters should have ditched the Tory party in 2010.

    • rose
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, you have said this before, but when did the Brexiteers back Mrs May during the actual contest? Obviously they do now because what else can they do? Another contest would be fatal to Brexit, which is why the Remainiacs are trying to topple her.

      • Chris
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        If they had had a contest earlier and put in place a strong Brexiteer leader, utterly committed to delivering Brexit, they would be well on the way to delivering Brexit, and winning waverers over. At present, the government is broken and “rudderless”, May is virtually weak and virtually powerless, the situation is deteriorating daily, and I fear the end is in sight, both for Brexit and the Cons Party. The problem is that the Brexiteer MPs do not seem to appreciate this fully, nor do they seem to have the wit to know exactly what to do i.e. take decisive action, pdq.

        • rose
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          You sound as if you think the Brexiteers are in the majority.

        • Chris
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          May is weak, not virtually weak. Apologies.

  25. Iain Gill
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The interface between the political layer and the civil service has been broken for some time.
    Dom Cummings (whether you love him or hate him) wrote up publicly quite convincingly the issues after his time as a SPAD. I don’t see the political layer doing anything to fix the obvious problems he listed.
    It’s certainly true that the liberal elite in all parts of our society are determined to continue to fight Brexit, and in many ways they are winning. In the same way they conspire to keep immigration high, conspire to manipulate the housing market, to turn us into their vision of a supposed financial services economy (destroying jobs in other sectors), keep the public sector massive, keep large numbers of poor people in social housing well beyond travelling distance to any potential jobs market, rob families of their older relative’s house when they get old, segregate our children by religion in school, force third rate expensive NHS on us, keep decisions away from ordinary citizens and in the hands of unaccountable quangos like clinical commissioning groups, and so on, all of which is very much against the will of the people. This just continues to build contempt for the political process amongst the ordinary voters.
    Being forced to keep the foreign office in the loop with everything you say abroad, and everyone you meet, must be very hard on many people. In my ordinary life when abroad I have chatted and swapped ideas with numerous people who are senior enough abroad to fall foul of this rule, had I been a minster at the time, yet I was just randomly going about my ordinary business.
    What it needs is a strong game changing prime minister, to cut through the treacle and sort things out. But that is not going to happen any time soon with the current wishy-washy lot we have at the top of our political parties, and the massive gap between the liberal elite being selected as political candidates and what the ordinary voters want.

  26. BOF
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Officials should be sacked on the spot if they are found to be working against the democratically expressed wishes of the electorate, and Parliament, in this case when they overwhelmingly voted to trigger Article 50.

    Pity the PM finds it necessary to lean on these abhorrent people for support and (usually bad) advice.

  27. JoolsB
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    May has played right into the hands of the officials. She is a weak PM and becoming weaker by the day. I wonder if how much the fact Priti was a strong suporter of Brexit had anything to do with this. It will be interesting to see who’s next – Boris maybe??????

  28. crazyTimes
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    It’s coming to crunch time now with the Brexit talks, reality has finally dawned and the government is screwed with trying to deliver what appears to be the impossible, ie to go for a WTO deal -the cliff edge- without a Customs Union deal with the EU that will somehow satisfy business and and the economy and allow it to continue. So government is going to have to engineer some way out without losing too much face- maybe allow another general election- to be fought over Brexit?- hence all of the recent machinations going on including dealings with Israel- one thing we can be sure of is that whenever dirty business is afoot Israel will be involved. Of course we the public are not been told the truth about any of this but perhaps a little clarity might yet shine through.

    • NickC
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      CrazyTimes, Please do not endorse the Remain calumny that the WTO deal is a “cliff edge” that has to be finessed to “somehow satisfy business”. There is no EU deal – that’s a fact. That makes the EU deal the cliff edge. Only the WTO deal exists.

      And not all “business” either. Since our exports to the EU are so little of our GDP, it may come to the point that the government must satisfy the section of our businesses that contribute c90% of our GDP, over the EU exporting c10%.

  29. Epikouros
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I am saddened that Priti Patel has resigned as I admire her and think she is an asset that government will miss. In this age of progressives political correctness it is no longer possible to determine fact from fiction and witch hunt from genuine wrong doing at least much of the time. Certainly there is blatant wrong doing and that has to be punished but then there are enviously vindictive groups and groups that wish to make political capital out of blackening the name of of any one that does not share their ideology or opinions. Who will seize on the most minor of infractions that any reasonable person would ignore as irrelevant and if none can be found will manufacture one.

    • Embarristering
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      “Certainly there is blatant wrong doing..
      On what legal or moral basis or any basis can you write “Certainly there is blatant wrong doing..?
      Actually I’ll help you out on this one. Certainly there is blatant wrong doing in stating an accusation of something as proof of the something or worthy of considering it even as a valid accusation. Full Stop.

  30. rose
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    “It is ultimately for the PM’s judgement whether any given meeting or event was a political or an official one, and whether any given Minister has stepped too far from government policy in what they have said and done. ”

    Can you imagine Mrs T allowing a negative spin to be put on what Priti Patel was trying to achieve in Israel, at her own expense? Mrs May should have applauded her and defended her against the saboteurs.

  31. Tad Davison
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I have said this before but it is well worth saying again and with emphasis. There are those on the remain side who seek to undermine Brexit at every opportunity. We on the leave side therefore need to be ever vigilant and continue to call them out.

    The way to stop these wreckers and remainers is to show guts and determination, and for God’s sake get on with getting us out just as soon as possible. That shoots their fox.

    We just cannot afford to procrastinate any longer because they will keep chipping away until there’s nothing left.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      And if it isn’t enough to have traitors at home who dance to the EU’s tune, we have this from OE:

      ‘The Daily Telegraph quotes an EU source saying that, the longer it takes for the UK to settle its Brexit financial obligations, “The more the pressure will build, the more we shake the tree” and use the uncertainty to force businesses to relocate to Europe.’

      It seems there are those who revel in the British government’s indecision as they see advantage in it for themselves. Whomsoever countenances that position on this side of the English Channel should be shot!

      Tad

      • blairB
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Good man Tad..but you must realize by now that yours is a lost cause..even government knows now, and that includes all of the Tories on the inner circle, that there is no getting away from the EU as an economic bloc- we are located too close to them and have too much in common. You see there is no real alternative out there for us..there are only a few options around the world and they would never ever compensate for our loss of trade with the EU27 as a whole and not only that we would lose whatever favourable trade status with other countries that we have already trade deals with through our membership of the bloc- here I’m even thinking about food standards, quality, hygiene etc. So I don’t know how to say this without bringing about more gloom but we were horribly lied to and the reality is quite different than we were promised. Thing now is how to get out of this mess with honour intact – and that’s the problem for Mrs May and government.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          A lost cause?

          Ken Dodd was the last person to make me laugh so much. It’s amazing how those who cannot see, wish to lead the way.

          I believe in government of the people, by the people, for the people.

          When referring to how the EU is run, Tony Benn might have put it this way: What power do you have, who gave it to you, and how do we get rid of you?

          I think we then start to see the fundamental nature of the problem.
          This nation’s destiny clearly lies outside the anti-democratic European Union.

          Tad

        • Alison
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          Replying to BlairB – re EU as an ‘economic bloc’ – hmm, not sure that it’s a very stable one, and as a political bloc, it is very slow on its feet, riven by disagreement and differing vision, and scary and opaque decision-making mechanisms and institutions. Re food standards, other standards, it is the UK which drives them … and also respects them. I have been much involved in the development of other standards, and we in the UK led the way and continue to hold and provide the expertise in their maintenance and updating, in Europe and globally. Returning to the EU as a bloc, I find it .. ironic to remember that since the arrival of the euro, the UK’s money (non-euro) has been one of the main financial pillars for the EU budget, alongside the German and NL monies (strong export economies, revelling in a cheap currency). We have a flexible currency. For euro-zone nations, it’s one-size-fits-all. But then, if the EU follows Juncker’s vision, the EU will be running everybody’s budget, one-size-fits-all.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, we can’t get on with it because Mrs May does not want to get on with it. She is the block. We cannot appeal to her. She is on the other side. She is the architect of delay and subversion.

      She.must be removed.

  32. Ron Olden
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    PRITI PATEL

    Miss Patel’s resignation, announced earlier today, does not, as as Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC obviously hopes, cause ‘problems’, for Mrs May.

    There are umpteen highly able, Brexit supporting Tories available to fill this job.

    They include Dominic Raab, Penny Mordaunt, James Cleverly etc… etc…. etc. And there are also a number of previously pro Remain people like Rory Stewart etc etc who have accepted the result of the Referendum.

    Miss Kuenssberg is mistaken if she imagines that everyone who supported Remain, is still as obsessed as she and her elitist ilk are, with attempting to sabotage the outcome of the Referendum.

    The biggest cause for concern in this incident however, is the fact that Miss Patel has left the Government at all.

    This incident had no implications whatsoever, for anyone outside the Government itself.

    I doubt of anyone outside the Foreign Office cares whether or not Miss Patel told some Foreign Office Official in advance who she intended to talk to whilst on holiday in Israel.

    Neither do any members of the Public care about what time and date the Foreign Office told Mrs May about it.

    This is a matter solely between all the parties concerned. If Miss Patel has had to resign owing to some arcane instance of discourtesy to her colleagues, that’s up to them.

    Mrs May should tell everyone else, especially the Labour Party to mind their own business.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget an MP that shouldn’t be overlooked Ron – Philip Hollobone, now there is a man who would have got to the bottom of aid spending. We should be looking at this generation of MPs and getting them trained up now with all of our experienced MPs to take over.

  33. formula57
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    An adroit prime minister would hand a defeat to officials who forced the resignation of a minister by either or both of appointing a scourge of a successor or abolishing their department by having it subsumed by another. Instead we likely will get another example of “strong and stable” government with the appointment of another cipher, well-schooled in irresolution.

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s not a “pettifogging” protocol, it’s absolutely necessary to ensure U.K. consistency in the messages we give to other nations – and that goes to the heart of what remains of our credibility.

      Just think about it. What message do you think the government sends if it opposes resettlements in occupied lands, and then a government minister visits the occupied lands AND offers funds for the occupying army to operate there? She was duped; without clearing her lines with the FO, or taking her Civil Servants with her , her hosts and her lobbyist ate her alive. She was an utter fool.

      • stred
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        She didn’t offer funds for the field hospitals but talked about the possibility. Everything she discussed would have had to be agreed when she returned. Giving aid to army hospitals would be a much better way of helping than giving it to ‘moderate’ resistance fighters who may spend some of it on arms.

        • Diogenes
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Stred, you are a comic genius: how do you know what PP discussed. She could as well have gone to try and collect funds for launching her future campaign as PM and you would not know one bit. You are making up the story as that might give a bit of peps to an otherwise “sad, sad, sad life” (as D.J.Trump could have said).

          So Stred (and the other conspiracy theorists on this blog), try to restrain yourselves. You are more and more ridiculous when seen by us from outside Albion (you know, those in various Paradise Islands).

          By the way, Patel’s replacement is a leaver (so roughly 12 hours of ridiculous musings for most of you).

          • stred
            Posted November 10, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            Diogenes. Don’t be a cynic. Brush up your philosophy and stop clowning around in your barrel.
            The words of Mz Patel, on her unofficial visit, would obviously be taken as unofficial and dependent upon later approval. It is also bloody obvious that the FO is chock full of pro Arab functionaries who are jealous of the Aid/Waste ministry, anti-Brexit and feel secure in their jobs to the point where they think they can undermine ministers. Are you one of them?

          • stred
            Posted November 10, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Has anyone noticed that May has replaced one Brexiteer with another and replaced this Brexiteer with a Remainer and this Remainer with another Remainer. Net+1 Remainer. Clever boys and girls these Anti-Brexit plotters.

      • rose
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        “It’s not a “pettifogging” protocol, it’s absolutely necessary to ensure U.K. consistency in the messages we give to other nations – and that goes to the heart of what remains of our credibility.”

        Then why are the Chancellor and the Home Secretary still in the Cabinet?

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        So Gareth this has taken since Mid August to come out? Even though there were tweets, so someone knew she’d made a mistake and let her continue, that is not a suitable workforce for this department end of. We smell a rat.

      • Bob
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        “offers funds for the occupying army”

        the money was aimed at funding medical treatment for Syrian refugees.
        What’s wrong with that?

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Just think for a second. Your proposal would either entail abolishing the FO; or abolishing DfID and giving it’s portfolio to the FO.

      The former would be utter stupidity – who would handle foreign relations, embassies and consulates, and our various Treaty requirements? – and the latter is what the FO wants to happen.

      Does your idea seem quite so good now?

      • formula57
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        @ Gareth – The point at issue is the authority of the government and its ability to deliver Brexit, even in the face of civil service opposition.

        To elaborate my idea, I would tranfer DfID responsibilities to the Business department with a view to ensuring its budgets were spent with British firms. So my idea still seems quite so good to me, thank you for asking.

  34. graham1946
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The Great Ditherer (does not) strikes again. She had all day yesterday and all night to think about a successor to Ms. Patel, but as I write, halfway through the next day, she still cannot come up with a name. Is there anything this woman is good at? Get rid. We need someone decisive to deal with Brexit, but we have what the Remoaners want, someone who cannot make a decision and will end up taking what we can get instead of what we should have.

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Get rid of her now, and you’ll get Corbyn.

      Is THAT what you want?

      • NickC
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Gareth, So you want Corbyn’s policies, but not Corbyn?

      • graham1946
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        How silly, Gareth. Do you want Brexit messed up/watered down? Maybe you do, in which case I understand your support.

        A leadership change does not cause a GE and there is no guarantee (or even in my imagination) that Corbyn would be elected. Do you think the Tories are the minority party with more votes than they ever had? Do the Tories not have anyone of talent? They had Patel until yesterday who is miles better. May achieved zero in 6 years at the H.O. except emasculate the Police, prisons, probation service etc.
        I am rather pleased actually that Ms. Patel will be there. Anything to try to keep the PM honest over Brexit. May seems to be having trouble finding someone to do the job to her liking.

        • Chris
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          If they elected a bold, radical, fervent Brexiteer as leader they would have no problem in winning an election if one had to be called. People are in despair about the feeble leadership which daily is making the UK look more and more foolish and powerless. what a ridiculous situation has been allowed to develop. If MPs do not act now, then I believe the fate of Brexit is sealed, as also the demise of the UK.

  35. Anna
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Such is my distrust of the political class, I am ready to believe that the FCO and the PM were fully aware of all the activities of Ms Patel but wanted them kept secret. Once details of the meetings were leaked, ‘deniability’ had to be invoked and Ms Patel sacrificed.

    I recall that the government of the day ‘refused to negotiate with terrorists’ while having secret meetings with the IRA.

    • Chris
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I believe you are absolutely right. The way events have unfolded has suited the Remainers’ (both MPs and civil servants) agenda perfectly to the point that collusion could be indicated, in my view.

  36. acorn
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The problem is easily solved by taking the “executive” out of the “legislature”. Elect the Prime Minister by UK popular vote.

    Prime Minister appoints his cabinet from the great and the good, none of them partisan members of the “legislature” or the “judiciary”; elected or not.

    Halve the number of MP Constituencies in the legislature; MP’s would cease to have additional government payroll jobs.

    Stop party dominated selection of MP candidates and introduce constituency, open, non-partisan primary elections.

    Make sure a politician and/or his party, are never more than two years away from a national election.

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      A recipe for sclerosis. Imagine a Labour executive with a Tory legislature, or vice versa. Won’t work. They’d just end up fighting each other. As often happens in the US.

      • acorn
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        And that would be worse than we have now would it?

        Every great move forward in the US, came from a Bill with two names on it, that was thrashed out to an agreed cross party solution.

      • rose
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        And on campaign two years out of four.

  37. ian
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The Israel leader has done for her last week on his visit to number 10.

    • Prigger
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      It is odd the UK is said not to recognise the Israeli occupation on the Golan Heights. It is a military position. In conflicts with Israel it allowed Syria and their aircraft advantage in flying in attack on Israel with minimum inadequate warning of the attack in order for the Israelis to use ground to air missile defences. Israelis have in fact pounded ISIL positions in Syria from that position so the Syrians are not 100% unhappy .

  38. zorro
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Off topic but excellent news anyway – last ISIS stronghold in Syria (Abu Kamal) seized by SAA – the flight of the headchoppers and some normality back to Syria!

    zorro

    • Gareth
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Best news of the week, by far.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        So all those poor misguided young things come back to the UK to be welcomed home with open arms by Mrs May no doubt.

        • zorro
          Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Collect their wages and preferential terms for housing… Of course, that wouldn’t be for services rendered….

          zorro

    • stred
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Coming to a council house near you?

    • Chris
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful. Syria, Russia, USA work together. None of this supporting of the rebels nonsense as originally proposed by many politicians in the UK, including Cameron.

  39. Tom William
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    What the media have not mentioned is that Priti Patel worked for Jimmy Goldsmith in the Referendum Party in 1997 (possibly because today’s young “journalists” have not even heard of it). She has been a Brexiteeer ever since. No wonder the FCO would have wanted to get rid of her.

    Personally I think she talks a lot of sense and hope, now she has been sacked, she will speak out. But she has been very careless or naive.

    • rose
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I don’t find her careless or naive, just open and honest, like Boris. Sitting ducks for our poisonous media.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Open and honest?…Boris?!
        He has his uses-he “may” have played the decisive role in the Referendum campaign and his intervention a few weeks ago was significant but I would not put him in charge of anything,not Brexit,not the Foreign Office.

        “There are no morals in politics;there is only expedience.A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel”-that quote from Lenin could have been made for Boris.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      or just didn’t care, the way things are going.
      I once worked for somebody and could see they were a disaster, so I just went “freelance” and eventually set up properly myself. The lessons of the “disaster” were well learned.

    • zorro
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Interesting who might have taken the pictures with the Israeli minister. Who were being treated in those Israeli army hospitals in the Golan Heights…? Let’s be generous, she could have been set up and be a bit naive…..

      zorro

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 10, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Given that our (enormous) funding for the “White Helmets” has been exposed,perhaps a new ruse is required,

  40. Anonymous
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    BBC Jeremy Vine show at it again.

    “Is May going to last to Christmas ?” and a comparison of her government with Major’s sleeze. As if knee patting is anything compared to full-on affairs.

    This is broadcast indocrination.

    • Prigger
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Why did you write “full-on affairs” rather than full-blown affairs? Self-censorship is one of the worst aspects of the pc-speak we have had to suffer years now. Not that I would understand any implication or innuendo, I’m only a 29 years old baby still with my milk teeth.

  41. Prigger
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The public does not quite understand why Ms Patel was hounded and sacked. Except that she is a rival to Mrs May.

  42. miami.mode
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    In their news bulletins and on their website the BBC keep talking about a reshuffle. Perhaps they should spend some of the licence money on English dictionaries because as far as we all know it is a resignation and an appointment. Words fail me……and them!

    • Prigger
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s not a reshuffle . It is a song. “There were ten in the bed and the little one said, Roll Over Roll Over and they all etc

  43. Posted November 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Surely, after all these years and endless shenanigans in Westminster now time to make compulsory the reading of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister for all secondary schools, students planning a career in politics/journalism and all new employees/researchers entering politics in Westminster.

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as her replacement, which according to media outlets preserves the current “balance” between Remainers and Leavers in the Cabinet. That’s the “balance” where Remainers outnumber Leavers by three to one.

    Also without any disrespect to either Priti Patel or Penny Mordaunt I would point out that while this may be a Cabinet position it is not a high ranking position.

    • Monza 71
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, but everyone round the cabinet table gets a vote.

    • rose
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      And is it in the war cabinet? Which the Defence position is. I would guess not.

    • zorro
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      I did actually fall off my seat when I heard la Kuenssberg say on the 6’o clock news that the 50/50 balance at the top table was being maintained!?…. More like 75% remain and 25% leave. D- for your maths Laura!

      zorro

  45. ian
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Getting ready for war in Lebanon & Iran, to be lead by Israel and Saudis. Lebanon is the first target so they can take on Syria now ISIS has been defeated by Syria. Iran will be last on the list, that if they have the bottle for Iran/ because they let them have everything they have got.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      I read the article outlining that scenario in the current issue of the Spectator.I would suggest it depends on what Russia decides it wants to see in the post civil war space-“everyone”connected with the conflict has been flying in to see Mr Putin in the past few weeks-Saudis,Turks,Iranians,Israelis,etc and Trump and Putin are meeting in Vietnam tomorrow.

  46. William Long
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    It looks as if Ms Patel has put the sex scandal away from the front pages. How very convenient for so many!

    • Sir Rhea
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      They said her behaviour in Israel was inappropriate.

  47. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Ms Patel became so frustrated with Dithering Doris, Mrs May, unable to get a decision out of her, thought ‘what the hell, I want to do things, I can’t wait forever’ and just went ahead.

  48. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    In these cases one cannot speculate on any underlying reason which many feel to be part of the’ dirty ‘ game .Speculation is not a fact which can be used n evidence. I wonder though, how long was Ms Patel given to complete the statement? Was it under duress? and where are the counter statements coming from and how long and how much editing will they be allowed? What advice will both sides of the argument be given? what facts will be left out for the prosecution to get their case? and so on and so forth

    • The Great Ear
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has had an “ambassador” of the Palestinians on TV. He was asked if the UK could possibly ever be said as acting as “honest broker” with the Palestinians in the “two state solution” after Ms Patel “spoke to the Israelis but then did not speak immediately to the Palestinian Authorities. “He replied “No”.
      Since when does the UK need a permission slip to speak to any nation on earth either from the Palestinians or the Israelis? The answer is “When Mrs May came to “power””
      She needs permission slips from Juncker, Tusk, the IMF, Frau Merkel and Palestinians if she wants to come home after the pubs shut. Everyone knows that’s the time when all the best chances of getting lunged happens on Saturday nights round town.

  49. Freeborn John
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    How is it possible that Phillip Hammond can go to Dublin and Berlin to discuss Brexit with the Irish and German governments and effectively undermine the DexEU in negotiations and not be fired? He should have been fired months ago.

    • Freeborn John
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      See August article below in the Irish press indicating the Irish PM is actively trying to help those in the UK seeking a soft Brexit. Note that Hammond met the Irish PM in August in Dublin and the Irish FM in London the same month. How is Hammond allowed to have meetings with foreign governments who are actively supporting him in changing the UK government position on Brexit?

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/varadkar-trying-to-sway-uk-public-opinion-on-brexit-1.3180810

    • Craic
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Being in Ireland fits well with Mr Hammond’s mindset.

    • Oh really
      Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      If I were Mr Hammond I wouldn’t be setting off for Dublin from where he is now but a way down the road and setting off from there.

  50. Eddie Thigh
    Posted November 10, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Correction. Ms Greening, not Greenwood. The latter is where I shoot off mi arraz.

  51. Rise of brown
    Posted November 10, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Gordon Brown broke to the surface today and said “The UK could remain in the EU” but was quickly reburied by a cemetery labourer just back from his lunch break.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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