Posts Tagged ‘cabinet office’

Government doubles down on boundary review proposals. Labour’s problems just got worse

11/02/2016, 02:13:42 PM

by Greig Baker

Sometimes when my 4yr old gets told off, she misbehaves even more – thinking that if she’s in trouble already, she might as well go the whole hog. The government has taken the same approach in its boundary review for Parliamentary constituencies. The Cabinet Office’s newly published details show the government is not looking to compromise. Instead, it is upping the ante, in the hope that while many of its own backbenchers will be unhappy, the reforms are an even bigger problem for Labour – and one that, perversely, the Labour leadership might be quite happy to have.

The politics to the boundary changes is threefold…

First, the government is sticking with a maximum 5% variance in constituency size, above or below the average, which means a greater number of seats will change. This makes it more likely Cameron will stay on for as long as possible, so that he takes the flack for the reforms and leaves his successor to smooth ruffled Tory feathers. It’s also the reason Corbyn might welcome the review, as it lets his team get cracking with deselecting more of those pesky, voter-friendly, centrist Labour MPs.

Second, and vitally, the reforms will be based on the number of voters actually on the electoral register – not the local population. This is a major disadvantage for Labour and will be one of the government’s sweeteners for angry Conservative MPs.

And the third factor is probably the one the ‘essay crisis’ Prime Minister has paid least attention to – the government admits the boundary reforms will unbalance the cross-community representation in Westminster currently offered by Northern Irish MPs. Without knowing exactly what the new Northern Irish constituencies will look like, the government could be risking its relationship with unionists here, which is no small beer given the precarious nature of a Parliamentary majority that only just scrapes into double figures.

In the next 24 months we’ll find out whether these proposals are workable, or if the government has just consigned itself to the naughty step.

Greig Baker is Chief Executive at The GUIDE Consultancy

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Government rides roughshod over civil service rulebook

02/03/2011, 10:34:44 AM

by Tom Watson

New answers to FoI requests released to me this week, show that the cabinet office has breached the civil service recruitment principles 30 times to make appointments, using an exemption to the rules aimed at helping the unemployed.

Exception one of the civil service code has been used to appoint people like Katharine Davidson, Michael Lynas, Kris Murrin and Rishi Saha, who formerly held political posts in the Tory and Lib Dem parties.

Rishi Saha is head of the government’s “digital communications”. How can the interests of the civil service be served by allowing a post like this to be filled without a trawl of the very best digital specialists in the country?

More importantly, how could cabinet secretary, Gus O’Donnell, have allowed his appointment to take place? It’s a clear breach, one where the interest of government is not served by making a political appointment to a non-political job.

Civil servants will feel very uncomfortable reading the new figures. The cabinet office refused to give me the names of 30 people on the list but I have a hunch that a number of them are also former staffers from the political parties. (more…)

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