Responding to remarks made in the House of Commons this afternoon by Steve Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:
“Steve Baker’s comments in Parliament are supposed to represent the considered view of the government. His remarks today not only insult the dedicated professionals working in his department and across the civil service, but they epitomise the current state of affairs in government.
"We have just witnessed the extraordinary scene of a serving minister telling the House that, whatever analysis his own department comes up with, he simply won't believe it. The public will rightly ask how this fingers-in-ears approach is supposed to help the country navigate such a complex and unprecedented challenge as leaving the EU.
“How can civil servants in Mr Baker’s department, who are working harder than ever before, now have confidence in a minister who stands at the despatch box and openly questions their professionalism? The real question, however, is how can a minister prepared to undermine the government he serves retain the confidence of the Prime Minister?”
Notes for editors
1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.
2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.
4. For further information contact the FDA Communications team on 020 7401 5589.