December 2014: No, Prime Minister: Britain’s top civil servant in Sir Humphrey-style bid to sabotage PM’s crackdown on his growing empire
Britain’s most powerful civil service mandarin is trying to ‘sabotage’ an attempt by David Cameron to restrict his growing empire, it was claimed last night.
Sir Jeremy Heywood was accused of a Sir Humphrey-style attempt to ‘dodge’ new rules that the Prime Minister decides who gets top civil service jobs.
The row comes amid fears that the unelected official is now the most important person in the Cabinet after Mr Cameron and the Chancellor. Sir Jeremy, 52, has even been described by one ex-Tory aide as so powerful that he has the Prime Minister ‘by the balls’.
A former civil service aide to Tony Blair, said he was nicknamed ‘Sir Cover-up’ after preventing the Iraq War inquiry from seeing letters between Mr Blair and George W Bush in the run-up to the war.
Now the Cabinet Secretary, he is accused of a bid to thwart Mr Cameron’s efforts to reduce his and other top mandarins’ influence.
Under reforms which were agreed two months ago, the Prime Minister will get the final say on appointing senior Government posts, instead of the Civil Service Commission. The move has been condemned by civil service unions, amid concern from Ministers that some top mandarins are blocking or obstructing Government policy.
But Ministers privately claim that Sir Jeremy is already trying to get round that by ensuring his favoured candidate Melanie Dawes lands the coveted £190,000-a-year job as the next permanent secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Ms Dawes, 48, a former senior Treasury official, is currently the Cabinet Office’s director-general for economic and domestic affairs. One Minister privately said last night: ‘Sir Jeremy is making it very clear that she should get the job. Ms Dawes is very talented but if the many other able candidates think it’s a done deal, they won’t bother applying. No sooner do we adopt new rules taking the power of appointment away from top mandarins then they try to sabotage them.’
Referring to the classic TV comedy series, the Minister added: ‘It’s classic “Yes Minister” tactics. Sir Humphrey will be proud of him – observe the rules in principle but work round them in practice.’
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman last night denied any interference by Sir Jeremy in picking the new permanent secretary. She insisted the process was being carried out ‘externally’ by the Civil Service Commission, which will draw up the shortlist and present it to the Prime Minister. She added: ‘It’s not Sir Jeremy’s decision.’
Last night, sources close to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said he simply wanted the best person for the job. But one added: ‘I do think Eric would like the selection process to be in accordance with the new rules – and that means the Prime Minister having the final say. ’The new appointment will replace Sir Bob Kerslake, who is due to retire next February. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2863737/No-Prime-Minister-Britain-s-civil-servant-Sir-Humphrey-style-bid-sabotage-PM-s-crackdown-growing-empire.html
‘Sir J. Heywood is a backstairs Bertie, a smudger, a whisper-in-the-PM’s-ear sort who shrivels from public view. The worry for Conservatives, and the rest of us, is that this
shrewd murmurer, this eminence grease, has acquired unprecedented power over not only the Prime Minister but also Nick Clegg, Cabinet, the coalition and much of the rest of the state apparat. There is talk of Heywood obstructing secretaries of state, shafting Cameroons and organising Downing Street to his own convenience. We have gone beyond “Yes, Minister” and now have “Yes, Sir Jeremy”. Worryingly, no one seems more in hock to him than our soigné, someone-take-care-of-that PM.’
The Tory Party will be subject to the will of the electorate in May 2015 – The brutality of their actions in the last 5 years will, if there is any justice result in their removal from office. But Sir Jeremy Heywood, assisted by a group of senior civil servants reporting to him will remain in post waiting to bend the knee to the next government. This is the same team that gloated about the role they discharged in the referendum campaign: devising, plotting, orchestrating and delivering against the Scottish electorate a sustained and vicious litany of lies forming part of a “campaign of fear” designed to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of Scots driving them to vote in favour of retaining the Union.
In the last year I have posted articles providing information about Sir Jeremy Heywood and his involvement in the affairs of government much of which makes for diturbing reading. The civil service based at Whitehall is beyond the control of government and it’s power needs to be curtailed otherwise things will go from bad to worse. Errors attributable to Whitehall civil servants have cost the taxpayer in excess of £100 billion in the lifetime of the present government. The civil servants responsible have been punished with promotion in just about every case.
Worth a read, over a few days: