New DExEU minister proposed fast-track sackings for anti-Brexit civil servants

Steve Baker’s comments came after he raised concerns about Whitehall staff ‘obstructing Brexit’

Photo credit: PA

By Richard Johnstone

15 Jun 2017

A new minister appointed by prime minister Theresa May to the Department for Exiting the European Union previously proposed emergency legislation may be needed to “summarily fire” civil servants seen to be obstructing Brexit.

Steve Baker, who was appointed as a minister to the Brexit department in May’s post-election reshuffle, had led the Conservatives for Britain campaign and was a prominent figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

Following the vote, Baker said last August it should be made easier to sack officials if they are judged to be opposing a Brexit deal.


“Any official working to oppose our exit from the EU should be summarily fired,” he said. “If necessary, emergency legislation should be passed to make it possible.”

Baker’s comments came after former cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell had told the BBC that he did not believe Brexit was inevitable.

His appointment is one of two new ministerial appointments at DExEU as the department saw half its ministerial team change ahead of the start of talks with the EU over exit terms on 19 June. David Davis remains in place as secretary of state as well as minister Robin Walker, joined by Baker and Baroness Anelay, the first female minister in either DExEU or DIT since they were created following the EU exit vote last year.

Responding to a request for comment from Civil Service World, a DExEU spokeswoman said: "Steve Baker is a highly experienced MP with a deep knowledge of issues surrounding the European Union.

"He has been brought in to the department because of that knowledge and to work as part of a team that will ensure the UK has a smooth transition out of the EU.

"As the minister has said, he is focussed on a good, clean exit which minimises disruption and maximises opportunity and which is consistent with the British public's demand to regain control of our laws, money and borders."

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