A fantasy speech on the doorstep of Number Ten
By D. J. Webb
I, Theresa May, have made clear that, as your prime minister, I will implement the referendum result to withdraw from the European Union. Although I favoured remaining, I recognize that this is a popular demand that has commanded widespread support in the country for decades. The key point is that I believe in democracy, and I believe we can make Brexit work.
I disassociate myself from the previous administration’s Project Fear. Any minister joining my government joins on the understanding that there will be no more talking down of sterling or of investment in Britain. Economic confidence can be undermined by government rhetoric, which becomes self-fulfilling if investment is deterred in response to political noise.
Any government holding a referendum has a duty to plan for two results. The order to the Civil Service not to plan for Brexit was, in my view, misconduct in a public office, which is a criminal offence. I do not propose to bring charges against David Cameron or George Osborne, but neither of these men will play any role in my government. The failure to plan for Brexit and the shocking instruction to the Civil Service to become thoroughly politicized in favour of the Remain campaign are serious issues. I make clear to the public and to the Civil Service that the neutral Civil Service we once had must be restored. I demand that, and will ensure it happens.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has seriously jeopardized his position in talking down the British economy. I find this too unacceptable: this also amounts to misconduct in a public office. I have discussed this with the Queen, and will recommend that he be sacked by Order in Council at the next meeting of the Privy Council. This is essential in order to restore our once-pristine neutral Civil Service. Civil servants must work for us, and not the other way round.
Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet secretary, presided over the unlawful politicization of the Civil Service in the cause of Brexit. This is also misconduct in a public office. He does not command my confidence. The Queen has appointed me Minister for the Civil Service. I intend to serve as the minister and ensure the Cabinet secretary does not encroach upon the ministerial office. I am in charge of the Civil Service, not Jeremy Heywood. I will recommend at the next Privy Council that Heywood be sacked by Royal decree, losing his knighthood and other awards along the way. Heywood will clear his desk today and go on gardening leave until the Privy Council convenes.
I will not hold a debate on politicization of the Civil Service with senior civil servants. They must be neutral. It is not a choice, but a requirement of the job. Mr Carney and Mr Heywood, don’t let the door hit your bottoms on the way out. Clear your desks and sling your hooks.
Our ancient constitution is being restored: this is my core policy and I will see it through.
I woke up, bleary-eyed, to find Mrs May spouting her confidence in Carney and Heywood, and I recalled my fantasy speech was but a dream.