Boris Johnson will be ‘front and centre’ in saving the union, senior civil servant claims
A senior civil servant has claimed that Boris Johnson will be “front and centre” in trying to save the union.
Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, suggested that Covid and Brexit had put preventing the breakup of the UK “at the forefront of policy making in Whitehall”.
This follows Philip Rycroft, who was Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU until 2019, saying that “imperious disregard” for the devolved administrations was making keeping the union together more difficult.
Case told the House of Lords constitution committee: “You are going to see the prime minister front and centre of maintaining the integrity of the Union and actually more importantly, getting all of the constituent parts of the UK operating fully together for the benefit of everybody who lives and works inside the UK.”
He said the civil service would not“devolve and forget” anymore because the pandemic had led to more awareness of the work of the devolved governments.
“If you’d asked me only a few years ago did I think that devolution or the Union was at the forefront of policymaking in Whitehall I would have said probably not,” he said.
“I think the experience of both Brexit and obviously more recently Covid means that so much more of government, so much more of policy, involves consideration of devolution or union questions much earlier in the process. In everything that we do we should be thinking how it impacts on the Union.”