Tory government 'doesn't think it has to be abide by rules', says former civil servant

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Truro, Cornwall

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Truro, Cornwall - Credit: PA

A former civil servant has hit out at Boris Johnson's government and the way it does not think it has to "abide by the rules".

Jill Rutter, a senior research fellow at UK in a Changing Europe, said the revelation that the former head of Whitehall procurement became an adviser to Greensill Capital while still working as a civil servant suggested the rules were not working well.

The former civil servant told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “Bill Crothers wasn’t just any civil servant, he was the head of a thing called the Crown Commercial Service which oversees all that government buying activity.

“You’d have thought that if anyone was in a sensitive role, and anyone is looking for them to advise them, he is in a very difficult position to take a role with an external company and manage to avoid the conflicts of interest.

“What we haven’t seen yet is the Cabinet Office’s justification for saying it was OK but I have to say that among other former civil servants that I know, there was an awful lot of eyebrow-raising going on last night.”

Asked whether the current administration was a “sleazy government”, she said: “I think it is tracking up a record that might come back to haunt it.

“Last summer I was writing stuff about (communities secretary) Robert Jenrick – remember that thing with the Westferry development, the planning decisions and some of the other decisions he has made?

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“I think this is a government that doesn’t think it has to abide by the rules and that gets you into a whole bunch of trouble.

“At the moment it doesn’t seem to be paying a high price, but who knows?”

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