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Small size of Brexit department sparks fears over Theresa May’s support for quitting EU

THERESA MAY’s support for quitting the EU has been questioned after it was revealed the new Brexit department will have among the smallest number of senior-level staff in Government.

Theresa May BrexitGETTY

Theresa May’s appointed David Davis to oversee the new Brexit department


Officially named the Department for Exiting the European Union, the new Whitehall unit will oversee Britain’s departure negotiations with Brussels.Senior eurosceptic MP David Davis was last month appointed to head the department by the Prime Minister in his new Cabinet-level role.It has now been announced 32 senior civil servants will assist Mr Davis as part of the Brexit department’s full-time senior management team.

Despite the Prime Minister’s insistence leaving the EU is one of the key priorities for her new Government, the Brexit department’s number of senior staff is dwarfed by other Whitehall ministries.

The Foreign Office has 382 senior civil servants, the Treasury has just under 100 senior civil servants and the Department for International Development, which oversees the UK’s controversial foreign aid budget, has 88 senior civil servants.

Even the Department for Culture Media and Sport, disparagingly dubbed the ‘Ministry of Fun’ by critics, employs 46 senior civil servants.

Ukip MEP Diane James, who is the bookies’ favourite to replace Nigel Farage as the party’s leader, expressed fears about the relatively small number of senior staff in place at the Brexit department.Blaming the former prime minister’s refusal to prepare for a Leave result prior to the EU referendum on June 23, she told Express.co.uk: “David Cameron admitted that there was no Plan B for Brexit and now we see the ramifications.“It looks like a hastily-contrived team, too low in numbers and potentially lacking the necessary expertise the EU will invoke.

“I am very, very disappointed to see this development – it brings into question whether Theresa May actually does support Brexit.”

Diane JamesGETTY

Ukip leadership favourite Diane James expressed fears about the small number of senior staff


GETTY

Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg raised questions about the size of other departments


I am very, very disappointed to see this development – it brings into question whether Theresa May actually does support Brexit.

Ukip MEP Diane James

Prominent Tory eurosceptic backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed the number of senior staff appointed to the new Brexit unit would now raise questions over other Government department’s bloated workforces.He told this website: “Perhaps it shows how over-staffed the other departments are.“If something as important as Brexit only needs 32, the 88 on the Department for International Development gravy train must be sloshing in sauce.”

But top civil servant Olly Robbins, the permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU, insisted it was an aim of the new unit to “stay small”.

Revealing there are now more than 150 staff in total working under Mr Davis, with numbers “growing fast”, he added the department would be “drawing on best expertise” from across Whitehall as Britain quits the EU.

Other Government departments are reported to have fought off attempts by the Brexit department to poach their top European experts.

Prime Minister Theresa May
Earlier this week Mrs May was said to be “distinctly unimpressed” about an alleged Whitehall turf war between Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, both of whose departments will also play key Brexit roles.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/701109/Brexit-department-Theresa-May-small-size-Department-for-Exiting-the-EU-civil-service

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