EU Referendum: Civil Service Guidance

Nick's Intervention in the Urgent Question on the EU Referendum

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): Is not the Prime Minister effectively saying to his own Ministers, “You can exercise your democratic rights as long as you agree with me at the end of the day”? Is this not the latest sordid attempt—there will be more—to rig the referendum to get the result that the Prime Minister wants?


Matthew Hancock: No; on the contrary, this is a consequence of allowing Ministers to express their views freely on whether they want to remain in or to leave, as many of them are doing.


Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con): Does the Minister agree that the misunderstanding of the Government’s position has been evidenced by the last question, which suggested that the Prime Minister required Ministers to agree with him? That is not the case. The public will surely agree that fairness is ensured by the fact that Ministers are free to speak out. That is what the Prime Minister is allowing, and that is a generous position. There is no reason why those Ministers should be supported by the civil service or the taxpayer in expressing their view, to which they are entitled in conscience. If they feel that this is unfair, they have the option of not remaining in the Government.


Matthew Hancock: Yes.


To read the full debate go to:

To watch Nick’s intervention go to: Nick speaks at 16:42:38.

Nick Herbert