When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in late July, he had a clear intention to up the UK’s Brexit preparations in order to commit to pulling the UK from the EU on October 31. As part of this effort, he appointed Leave campaign mastermind Dominic Cummings as his chief political aide, who was tasked with ensuring a strict regime. Under the new administration the Government introduced Friday night meetings with Government aides and also initiated daily meetings at 8am and 7pm for No.10 staff.
No deal preparation meetings are also held regularly.
The aim was so that Mr Cummings could steer the direction of every adviser, and just one month after the move was introduced it appears the civil service laud the intervention.
Speaking in front of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee this afternoon, Mr Manzoni welcomed the new approach saying it had provided the Government with renewed energy and purpose.
In response to a question asking if civil servants are getting “fed up” with making Brexit preparations, he said: “I think one of the positives of a daily preparation meeting is that it does re-inject energy into a system and it has done that quite effectively and the civil service will respond.
The daily meetings are in contrast to Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May’s handling of Brexit – who failed to maintain rank among ministers and aides alike.
Mrs May seldom held meetings with Government officials, and the ramping up of efforts under the new Prime Minister represents an entirely different approach.
Mr Cummings firm approach has already been subject to a tirade of criticism for leading the Brexit agenda and he received a backlash for publicly sacking Sajid Javid’s special adviser after a furious row.
After Mr Cummings accused Sonia Khan of helping Remainers and engaging with Philip Hammond, who she worked for while he was a cabinet minister, she was marched out of No.10 by an armed police officer.
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“Mr Speaker, the Vote Leave campaign and Number 10 doesn’t care about rules.
“They didn’t care in 2016 and they don’t care now about the law.
“Mr Speaker, we must stop them, because the stakes quite frankly, are too high.
“The Prime Minister and his Vote Leave cronies are not above the law.
“The law must stop this dictatorship and Parliament must stop this Prime Minister acting like a dictator.
“Even the Prime Minister’s own ministers cannot trust him.”
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve’s demand for all written and electronic contact about the temporary suspension of Parliament and Operation Yellowhammer documents since July 23 to be released was approved by 311 votes to 302, by a majority of nine.
The vote is binding on the Government and will require all correspondence and communications, including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger, private email accounts, text messages, iMessage and official and personal mobile phones connected to the Government to be handed over.
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