The leader of the Conservative Party has apologized to the head of civil service after an email sent on behalf of the home secretary said public officials had held up efforts to tackle illegal migration.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she did not sign the correspondence last week, which accused “a group of activists from left-wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labor Party” of blocking previous attempts to stop migrants from sailing in small boats across the arrive channel.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, in a letter to the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, said Tory leader Greg Hands had apologized for the notice, which Conservative Party Headquarters (CCHQ) said was not sent under Ms Braverman’s supervision.
Mr Hands has assured Mr Case that “he has already taken action to change procedures at CCHQ” to ensure “this incident does not happen again”.
The email was sent to thousands of Tory activists following the release of the Illegal Migration Bill, which includes measures to tighten asylum rules.
In a March 11 letter seen by the PA news agency, Mr Case told PCS Secretary General Mark Serwotka: ‘You will have seen that the Home Secretary has made it clear that she has not seen, signed or signed the email approved.
“She has also written to staff across the Home Office to thank them for their excellent work on the Illegal Migration Act.
“Furthermore, the Home Secretary has also expressed her gratitude to Home Office officials in her public interviews over the past few days.
“I also spoke to the party leader, who apologized for the mistake.
“He assured me he was already taking action to change procedures at CCHQ to ensure this incident does not happen again.
“Finally, the party leader has also asserted that attacks on public services are not part of any standard CCHQ line.”
Mr Case told Mr Serwotka, who wrote to the chief of civil service about the email’s attack on government workers, that he “takes incredibly seriously any cases that may undermine our impartiality”.
The UK Government’s most senior official added: “I am reassured that the error you raised was quickly rectified and steps were taken to prevent it from happening again.”
A copy of his letter, Mr Case said, was also shared with the FDA, a union representing senior officials, which also raised concerns about the Tory email.
No. 10 and Ms. Braverman have both distanced themselves from the notice attacking officials.
The Home Secretary told ITV last week: “I didn’t write that email, I didn’t see it and it was a mistake that it was sent on my behalf.”
Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said the email “certainly does not represent the Prime Minister’s views”.
CCHQ admitted last week that “the Home Secretary has not seen the wording” and said it is “reviewing” its internal clearance processes.
Party headquarters said they had nothing to add after Mr Case’s letter setting out Mr Hands’ apology.
The government’s controversial asylum proposals, set out in the Illegal Migration Bill, cleared their first hurdle in the House of Commons on Monday.
The legislation aims to prevent people from applying for asylum in the UK if they arrive by unauthorized means, with the measures forming part of Mr Sunak’s action plan to deliver on his promise to stop small migrant boats from to cross the English Channel.