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Top civil servants made formal protests over spending by Labour Government in its dying days

I would have expected this story to be run with big-time by the Right-wing press, but it is in fact The Guardian which splashes on it this morning:

Civil servants came under increasing pressure from ministers in the dying months of the Labour government to carry out expensive orders that they disagreed with and responded by submitting an unprecedented number of formal protests in the run-up to the general election.

The five separate protests came in the form of written ministerial directions – requested by the most senior civil servant in a department when they disagree with a minister's decision so strongly that they refuse to be accountable for it.

The revelation adds weight to the coalition government's claims that ministers were profligate in the final weeks of the last government.

Such ministerial orders are rare and signify an irresolvable dispute between a minister and his most senior civil servant. Whitehall sources told the Guardian there had been five this year. Public records also show nine last year and five between 2008 and 2005.

More here.

Jonathan Isaby