After refusing to hang a large portrait by the Queen in their offices, civil servants from the Business Department were accused of disrespecting the Queen.
The picture had been displayed prominently in the reception of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy offices for several years, but was temporarily removed while the area was refurbished.
Assistants expected the pictured to return to the main entrance after completion. But it was not hung again for many weeks.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Kwasi Kwarteng’s allies are believed to be fighting officials in the office over the image.
In the interest of the project, insiders from the department have reached out to civil servants.
Following several weeks without following instructions, civil servants now choose to hang a smaller picture. This is believed to fit in an eight-by-6 inch frame.
Kwarteng’s staff were upset by the decision. Sources also revealed that a plaque to commemorate officials of the ex-Ministry of Power, who were killed in World War Two, was placed at the ‘basement.
A small portrait of the Queen inside the offices of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Aides of Kwasi Kwarteng are said to be at loggerheads with civil servants in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy offices
Pictured: The portrait hangs in the reception area of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy offices on Victoria Street, London.
A source said: ‘I think some of my colleagues forget we work for Her Majesty’s Government.’
The second said that the queen’s new photo was’may as easily be the size a stamp’, and called it ‘laughable.
Already tensions had already been high following the suggestion by civil servants that the word “Christmas” should be dropped from official correspondences due to be sent out to business leaders.
Officials suggest that the ‘festive period’ should be replaced because it allows for more people to participate.
Following a lengthy email debate, the decision was made to overturn them.
Civil servants should be neutral and avoid party politics.
In the midst of Government’s “war on woke”, tensions are rising among ministers and civil service personnel.
It comes as civil servants have been told to stop saying ‘Brexit’ and to refer to the UK’s departure from the European Union using the date of ’31 December 2020′.
Whitehall’s style guide advises employees to refrain from using the term ‘Brexit’. It should be avoided if it is necessary in a historical context.
The staff were also told not to use the term “transition period”, which is a reference to months in the future when Brussels and the UK worked out their terms.
Cabinet Office Civil servants raised objections against a Covid advertisement campaign that tarted students. It featured the slogan “Don’t take Covid home to Christmas”.
Reports claim that officials assisted in the creation of plans, feeling it not sufficiently inclusive and putting off other religious groups.
Whitehall mandarins tried to stop Liz Truss wining and dining US diplomat and eight others at Tory donor’s Mayfair club to save just £400 on bill
Jamie Phillips at MailOnline
Whitehall mandarins tried to stop Liz Truss wining and dining a US diplomat and eight others at a Tory donor’s Mayfair club to save just £400 on a lunch bill.
The Foreign Secretary ‘overruled officials’ and ‘explicitly asked’ to use 5 Hertford Street in central London, owned by millionaire aristocrat Robin Birley, before spending hundreds of pounds on gin and wine alone.
In June, Ms Truss requested departmental funds to host a £3,000 lunch at the venue with Katherine Tai, Jo Biden’s trade representative, while International Trade Secretary.
According to The Sunday Times, Ms Truss said that she’refused’ to think of a place else for lunch. She also described suggestions for cheaper, less-party political options as ‘inappropriate.
The bill’s savings are being made just months after the Foreign Office was accused of attempting to reduce costs by allowing civil servants at other departments to be blamed for failing to grasp the gravity of August’s Afghanistan evacuation crisis.
A whistleblower cited an eight-hour shift culture and the refusal to work weekends as reasons for failures that led to Afghan civilians being ‘left behind and murdered by the Taliban’.
Sarah Healey, a top civil servant and permanent secretary to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is also being accused of undermining attempts by ministers to bring back officials last year. She had praised the advantages of working remotely because she could ride her Peloton bicycle.
The rules for the lunch had been followed. However, officials from the Department for International Trade expressed concern over the location’s costs and links with the Tory party.
London’s most secretive and influential members club, 5 Hertford Street was where Prince Harry and Meghan first met. It is also where Tony Blair had a glass of wine with Rupert Murdoch and Wendy Deng.
Its owner, Mr Birley, is the half brother of Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park and donated £20,000 towards Boris Johnson’s leadership bid.
It has been used also by Foreign Secretary 46 to host meetings called ‘Fizz With Liz’ to mingle with Tory MPs as well as ‘Biz for Liz’ events to meet potential financial backers for his leadership bid.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss ‘explicitly asked’ to use Mayfair, 5 Hertford Street, owned by millionaire aristocrat Robin Birley
5 Hertford Street in Mayfair
A club official described it as “obviously extremely expensive” and said that the price was higher than what we would normally expect for such a place.
The email stated that Truss would be hosting Katherine Tai for dinner tomorrow. She would like to do this in her own private dining room.
‘[Her special adviser] is insisting it takes place at a private members’ club called 5 Hertford Street. She’s recommended this based on having been there before — her argument is that it’s of the appropriate size and standing.
‘To my knowledge we haven’t hosted anyone there before as a department.’
The email said official had suggested another option, Quo Vadis in Soho, which ‘costs only £1,000’.
This request was declined by Ms Truss. However, she was insisting that we book 5 Hertford Street and Quo vadis.
The email continued: ‘Something we’ve just discovered is the owner … is Robin Birley, a donor of the PM, Conservative Party and Ukip.
“I believe the venue holds party events. This is likely how SoS and [her special adviser]Know it.
Civil servants subsequently entered negotiations with the venue regarding the price, leading to its events manager agreeing to waive hire fees and reduce the overall bill to £1,400 on the agreement it is paid immediately after the meeting.
This forced civil servants to resort to an emergency procedure in order to authorize the payment.
A second official stated that the payment must be made public under transparency rules. However, he assured the public that the transaction could be justified as the discount was a’real VFM. [value for money]’.
John Alty, permanent secretary, said that he was satisfied with the agreement.
Ms Truss hosted a lunch at the location with Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative (pictured).
Robin Birley (pictured) is the half brother of Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park and donated £20,000 towards Boris Johnson’s leadership bid
It is understood ten people were present at the dinner, with a receipt showing Ms Truss, Ms Tai and others purchased two bottles of Tanqueray, the London dry gin, three £153 bottles of Pazo Barrantes Albarino by Marqués de Murrieta and two bottles of £130 Coudoulet de Beaucastel.
Despite regularly playing host to politicians, royals and stars of the stars of the entertainment industry, with its basement club Loulou’s having showcased the dancing styles of George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, 5 Hertford Street had losses of £236,873.
Ms Truss leapt ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak as Tory members’ favourite to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister last week, according to a new poll.
Conservative Home figures suggest that the UK’s most popular diplomat and top Brexit negotiator jumped ahead of the Chancellor after his Nov. tax-andspend budget.
But, Ms Truss’s comrades reacted negatively to her “pathetic” leadership jockeying last month.
According to a spokesperson for the Department for International Trade, the diplomatic dinner was attended by senior UK officials and US counterparts.