Monday, 25 January 2021

Government rocked by new scandal

It was revealed over the weekend that, in a break from normal practice for the current government, officials in the Department for International Trade had been caught out giving honest and accurate advice to businesses hit by the new rules on trade following Brexit. It seems that firms reeling under the impact of additional customs and border control red tape which asked the Department for assistance to get round the rules were told that there was no way of doing so, that the rules aren’t going to be changed any time soon, and the best thing for those businesses to do was to close the relevant parts of their businesses in the UK and set up new operations inside the EU.

The affair raises serious questions over the future of International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss. Whilst incompetence is regarded as standard operating practice, and the ability of ministers to lie repeatedly direct to camera is highly valued by the PM, there is considerable doubt as to how long he will tolerate any minister who is found to be in charge of a department giving out honest information. Some are even wondering whether the government itself can survive a bout of honesty without imploding. However, those expecting swift action to deal with this breach of protocol are likely to be disappointed. There are currently no signs that the PM is going to break his long-standing habit of prevarication just because one minister has been caught out defying his expectations.

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