Civil Service Appointments Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

Civil Service Appointments

Sir Edward Leigh Excerpts
Tuesday 30th June 2020

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove - Hansard

Like me, the right hon. Gentleman is a believer in experimentation, scientific method, empiricism and pragmatism. As we both know, the negotiations with the European Union are accelerating at the moment, as both sides seek to find a conclusion over the course of the next five weeks.

Sir Edward Leigh Portrait Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con) - Hansard

I am sure the Minister agrees that the incorruptibility and independence of mind of the civil service is one of the key features of our government, but it occurs to me that there may be a bit of hype around this issue. Surely someone who spends decades as a professional diplomat can hardly be accused of not knowing anything about national security, and surely independence is in their DNA. There is also hype about all these advisers—about Dominic Cummings and David Frost. These people just give advice. Can we not rely on the Prime Minister and the Minister to actually run the country? They are quite capable, are they not?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove - Hansard

As ever, my right hon. Friend speaks good sense. It is the case that national security advisers, like other advisers, are there to advise, and then Ministers decide.