Top Tory MP tells civil servants: If you can’t accept Brexit then...

Top Tory MP tells civil servants: If you can’t accept Brexit then QUIT your jobs

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AN INFLUENTIAL Tory MP has told civil servants who can’t accept the Brexit vote to take the “honourable option” and quit their jobs.

Bernard Jenkin, who scrutinises the work of Whitehall in his role as chair of the House of Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, hit back at former civil servants’ “grumbling” about the Government’s Brexit strategy.

Following the dramatic resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers as Britain’s EU ambassador, several former senior officials have rallied around the departing diplomat and supported his attack on Theresa May’s handling of Britain’s EU exit.

Mr Jenkin suggested the row had left the impression senior civil servants and diplomats are now “in revolt” against Brexit.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has demanded a mass clear-out in Whitehall following the historic Leave vote.

Mr Jenkin dismissed calls for top civil servants to be replaced with politically-appointed officials, but told ex-public employees they are risking Whitehall’s future with their outspoken attacks.

In an article for the Financial Times, the Harwich and North Essex MP wrote: “They seem unaware that, with their complaints, they are making the case against an impartial civil service.

“The mandarins are playing into the stereotype that there is a collective establishment view on great issues, such as Brexit, which they feel entitled, even duty bound to defend.”

For civil servants who cannot or will not adapt, the only honourable option is to resign

Bernard Jenkin

Mr Jenkin described last summer’s Brexit vote as a “shock” to Whitehall as he advised those civil servants who can’t reconcile themselves with the UK departing the EU to leave their roles.

He added: “Many will adapt with alacrity but others will take time to accept it is happening. There will be many who are in grief at being required to abandon what they regard as fundamental beliefs and who cannot grasp how to embrace the opposite of what UK governments have tried to achieve in Europe for four decades.

“For civil servants who cannot or will not adapt, the only honourable option is to resign.”

Mr Jenkin claimed there was “no doubt” the civil service would deliver Brexit but insisted Government ministers were right to “establish their authority” over officials having been “mandated” by voters.

Sir Ivan used his explosive resignation email to order civil servants to challenge “muddled thinking” from ministers, but Mr Jenkin said: “What may be a ‘truth’ to one official or minister may well be ‘muddled thinking’ to another.”

He called for both ministers and civil servants to work harder to retain “trust” between both sides ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.

Sir Ivan has been swiftly replaced in Brussels by the UK’s former Russian ambassador Sir Tim Barrow.

David Davis’s Brexit department have denied “fundamentally untrue” claims they tried to block Sir Tim’s appointment as part of a “landgrab” attempt to take control of the Brussels role.