The past 2 weeks have certainly been eventful, and included the 2-year anniversary of the UK’s exit from the political institutions of the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used this celebration to try and reinvigorate his popularity, with the recent mini-reshuffle of Ministers aimed at placating Brexiteers in Parliament and around the country. Among the changes made, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has been given the role of ‘Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency’. While it’s about time a Minister was appointed to this role, with specific responsibility for escalating Brexit reforms, the fact Boris was willing to add ‘Government Efficiency’ onto the title given to Rees-Mogg only raises questions about whether the focus of this Government is really about fulfilling the real opportunities of Brexit – or whether this is just another ‘smoke and mirrors’ game, as we have seen before. Increasing efficiency should obviously be a key goal of Ministers across the Government. However, this will be a mammoth task, especially as we believe the job includes the reform of the Civil Service. I find it very difficult to understand how Rees-Mogg’s new job, combined with his responsibilities to his constituents, can be balanced with the time needed to investigate and introduce reforms to former EU regulations. If this job of EU/Brexit law reform is to be done properly, it will need all of his time and focus! Also included in the PM’s reshuffle was a raft of changes within the team at 10 Downing Street. Brexiteer Steven Barclay MP has been made Chief of Staff and the PM has begun setting up a new department – The Office of the Prime Minister. Slightly ironically, he is creating more bureaucracy when he is supposed to be trying to be more efficient. However, of huge concern, is the appointment of the Prime Minister’s new Director of Communications, Guto Harri - a man who worked for Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, but h fiercely backed ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum. Is this really the man to shape the PM’s messages about delivering on Brexit? I very much doubt it!
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