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Wednesday 23 January 2019

The FDA responds to ERG Vice Chairman Mark Francois's attack on civil servants

Responding to comments Mark Francois made in a recent Conservative Home interview, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

“Mark Francois is clearly incapable of understanding that civil servants can act impartially, regardless of their personal views, because he is incapable of such action himself. Civil servants only act under political authority: they advise but ministers decide. If Francois has a problem with the Government’s deal on Brexit then his ire should be directed at ministers, not those who have loyally served them.

“His latest comments, however, go well beyond what is acceptable political discourse. At a time when public servants are receiving death threats, he cannot hide behind a metaphorical flourish when he is accusing civil servants of being traitors to our country. So whilst he may hope that any response to his incendiary comments will be very 'British', the reality for those who have dedicated their lives to serving governments of every colour is that they are being targeted and threatened.

“Francois puffs out his chest proclaiming his British patriotic values. He then seeks to undermine one of the country’s greatest institutions — an impartial civil service — and knowingly uses language that could result in public servants fearing for their lives. Those are not the British values that I recognise.”
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 and at www.fda.org.uk. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec. 
4. For more information contact: 
FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 020 7401 5588 or 07738 729 145 or email on tommy@fda.org.uk
FDA Communications Officer Laura Gilbert on 020 7401 5589 or email on laura.gilbert@fda.org.uk
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