Conservative leader Greg Hands has apologized for an email sent on behalf of Suella Braverman that attacked officials as part of an “activist blob”.
The email sent to Tory on behalf of the Home Secretary – which accused Whitehall officials of trying to block the crackdown on small boats alongside Labor and “left-wing lawyers” – sparked outrage among unions.
In a letter to the PCS union, which represents government employees, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said the government had taken swift action to rectify the “mistake”.
Mr Case told the union he spoke to Mr Hands “who has apologized for the mistake” and said he takes anything “that may undermine our impartiality incredibly seriously”.
The top 10 official said: “He has assured me that he has already taken action to change procedures at CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters) to ensure this incident does not happen again.”
The Tory leader also offered “reassurances that attacks on public services are not part of a standard CCHQ line,” Case said.
The CCHQ email sent to supporters on behalf of Ms Braverman said: “We have tried to stop small boat crossings without changing our laws. But a group of left-wing lawyers, civil servants and Labor activists blocked us.”
But the Home Secretary insisted she did not endorse the much-criticized message, sparking an internal investigation by CCHQ.
PCS Secretary General Mark Serwotka said the “outrageous attack” on officials over the controversial crackdown on asylum seekers was “an insult to the political impartiality of the civil service”.
Dave Penman, chairman of the FDA public sector union, had also called the email a “cowardly attack on officials” and urged Ms. Braverman to apologize.
In his reply to the PCS, Mr Case said: “You will have seen that the Home Secretary has made it clear that she did not see, sign or approve the email. She has also written to the Interior Ministry staff to thank them for their excellent work on the illegal migration law.”
CCHQ said last week that “the Home Secretary had not seen the text” and was now “reviewing” its internal clearance processes.
Distancing himself from the comments, Mr Sunak’s spokesman said there were “operational issues” at CCHQ that “we need to look into”.
Commons leader Penny Mordaunt said last week that ministers need to “motivate” civil servants and take responsibility for their “areas” after being asked for an email.
Ms Mordaunt said the Government needs to “motivate the people we work with, whether they work in public services or organizations we work with”.