UK turnover of ministers disrupting Brexit: report

LONDON: The high turnover of ministers in the British government is hampering progress towards Brexit, a think-tank said Thursday.


The merry-go-round of faces in Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration will also make it tougher for her to achieve her domestic objectives, the Institute for Government (IFG) said.

While May has kept her top four ministers in place since taking office in July 2016, the report found that 71 percent of ministers — 85 out of 122 — are new to their jobs since the June 2017 general election.

“Political turbulence and ministerial turnover — particularly at junior levels — have disrupted the government’s preparations for Brexit, its ability to pass crucial legislation and its capacity to deal with urgent public service challenges,” the institute said in a report.

Only Brexit minister David Davis and one of the four junior ministers have stayed at the Department for Exiting the European Union since its creation in July 2016, the month after Britain’s EU referendum.

Meanwhile, every minister in the Cabinet Office and three-quarters of those in the justice ministry were replaced in this month’s reshuffle.

Both the Justice Department and the Work and Pensions Department have seen a third minister take the helm since May took office.

“As Theresa May’s government enters 2018, Brexit is rightly absorbing significant effort,” IFG director Bronwen Maddox said.

“But the government has made commitments to voters on public services, productivity, social mobility and major projects. If it fails to meet their expectations, it risks further undermining confidence in government.”

The annual IFG report analyses the size, shape and performance of government.

May has not changed her top four ministers: finance minister Philip Hammond, foreign minister Boris Johnson, interior minister Amber Rudd, and Davis.

However, both her deputy Damian Green and defence minister Michael Fallon resigned over personal scandals, and junior ministers have been rotated.

May lost her centre-right Conservative Party’s majority in last year’s snap general election and relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party to pass legislation.

Britain is set to leave the EU in March 2019.



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