ANDREW PIERCE: Most Foreign Office staff are STILL WFH

ANDREW PIERCE: Most Foreign Office staff are STILL WFH

War in Ukraine is posing one of the greatest threats to international security since World War II. James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, devotes most of his week to the war, liaising with his counterparts to ensure co-ordinated action.

So you would expect the Foreign Office in King Charles Street to be a hive of frenetic activity.

Think again. The civil service website reveals in the last week of October only 40 per cent of the staff were working at their desks at the George Gilbert Scott-designed building; the rest are working from home. 

There’s also a lot on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s plate, with the emergency financial statement on November 17, as Rishi Sunak’s government tries to plug a £40 billion black hole in the nation’s finances writes ANDREW PIERCE

There’s also a lot on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s plate, with the emergency financial statement on November 17, as Rishi Sunak’s government tries to plug a £40 billion black hole in the nation’s finances. So why were only 50 per cent of Treasury staff behind their desks last month?

It’s the same at the Department of Work and Pensions, which has all sorts of issues over delays in benefit payments.

Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to know that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, a former Army officer in the thick of the Ukraine conflict, has cracked the whip. In the same period, 85 per cent of his staff were at their desks.

Isn’t it time the rest of the government got their civil servants back in the office again?

In a newspaper interview the intensely irritating self-styled green goddess Greta Thunberg said that the Cop27 conference in Egypt is a ‘scam for greenwashing, lying and cheating’. 

In a later TV interview she attacked Rishi Sunak’s initial refusal to go: ‘The fact that one of the most powerful people in the world doesn’t have time for this is very symbolic and says he has other priorities.’ More confused virtue signalling from the teenager.

 Will Rishi hear Tory voices?

A decade ago Conservative Voice was set up to campaign for lower taxes, small government, and radical thinking in delivery of public services. Sadly, there’s been little sign of any of those noble objectives being met.

Now the group has delivered some timely advice on what the Tory Party should stand for. In a poll of 2,000 people by Savanta, 80 per cent of Tory voters want government spending to support a strong military, while 83 per cent say Britain already does enough to help poorer countries, with international aid currently around £11 billion a year. 

Only 55 per cent believe there is value for money from public services (Pictured Prime Minister Rishi Sunak)

In other words, cut the international aid budget.

Only 55 per cent believe there is value for money from public services. Don Porter, co-founder of Conservative Voice, said: ‘Getting better value for the taxpayer, encouraging aspiration, and prioritising economic growth, it’s clear the new Conservative Government will succeed if it reflects these values.’

Rishi Sunak please take note.

Rugby star and commentator Brian Moore speaks for many when he says: ‘Can we petition for Hancock to stay in the jungle for ever?’ Meanwhile, comedian Rory Bremner added: ‘That’s the calibre of ministers these days. They’re either in the Cabinet or in the Jungle. Only they last longer in the Jungle.’

As Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove has the ideal deputy. 

In 1993, his minister Lucy Frazer, then president of the Cambridge Union, invited him to speak to the motion: ‘This house prefers a woman on top.’ 

Gove responded with risqué jokes, and suggested Frazer had done well to have made it to Cambridge from ‘the slums of Leeds’. Talk about levelling up! 

As Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove has the ideal deputy writes ANDREW PIERCE

Parliament has found another way of wasting our money: podcasts in which foes of the government can sound off about its deficiencies. 

The ‘Committee Corridor’ podcasts began as a vanity project for former soldier Tom Tugendhat. But now he has a ministerial job, the podcasts are passing to the less photogenic Labour MP Darren Jones. 

His first effort will include cameos by la-di-dah Tory wet Caroline Nokes, fashionable Leftie think-tanker Torsten Bell and Sir Stephen Timms, a Labour grandee with a passing resemblance to Herman Munster. A dead cert for the Baftas! 

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