Anti-Brexit campaigners have said that the prime minister is ‘playing political games with public money’ by spending money on no-deal Brexit television adverts.
Sir Mark Sedwill, head of the civil service announced before the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee that the adverts would help ‘individuals and citizens and businesses’ to make their own judgements.
The move comes as part of the government’s communication campaign, which has already seen advertisements on the radio and online.
Sir Mark dismissed suggestions that the government’s messaging is failing, saying: ‘Individuals and citizens and businesses are making their own judgments.
‘So there is a communications campaign, but of course citizens and businesses are aware of that but they also look at the front pages and the news bulletins and they make a judgment, their own judgments, about the likelihood of no deal on 29 March.
‘And that will influence their judgments about the extent to which they need to make personal preparations to do so.’
Sir Mark also criticised leaks from Cabinet meetings.
He said: ‘Ministers are entitled to expect and indeed are required to exercise full candour in debating those issues before a decision is made and expect to be able to do so in confidence.
‘And of course the area, in my view, of collective responsibility that has been under most pressure, is the breakdown in the confidentiality of those discussions in advance.
‘I think that is an issue we are going to have to address as we work our way through this.’
Jo Stevens MP, a Best For Britain supporter and MP for Cardiff Central, responded: ‘Not content with wasting £50,000 of taxpayers money last year to promote the government’s failed Brexit deal via online advertising, it seems the powers that be now plan to spend even more public funds on TV ads to scare the public about a no-deal scenario.
‘The Prime Minister shouldn’t be playing political games with public money by perpetuating the scare tactic of no-deal, in order to bully MPs into backing her duff deal. The government must come clean on how much this initiative is costing the public purse.’