Vaccine row: ‘Thank heavens for Brexit’ says Ann Widdecombe
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David Cameron, the former Tory prime minister responsible for allowing the British people a vote on EU membership, was one of the leading campaigners in the Remain campaign. It has since emerged the prime minister was so confident Britons would vote to stay in the bloc, he banned civil servants from preparing for the opposite outcome.
The claims were made in a recent book, which charts the career of the late Jeremy Heywood – who served as cabinet secretary to Mr Cameron.
The book, written by his wife Suzanne Heywood, charts the lead up to the EU referendum and the role civil servants played.
It points out the prime minister decided no work was to be carried out on a “no” outcome in April 2016 – two months ahead of the referendum.
The book states: “From early April the referendum began to absorb more of Jeremy’s time.
“As he’d done before the Scottish decision, the Prime Minister told Jeremy that he didn’t want the Civil Service to do any work on the consequences of a ‘no’ vote since the Government wasn’t obliged to work on something that wasn’t its policy.
“In any case, if such preparations were leaked, they would be seized on by the Leave campaign.”
The author expanded on this point and said it wasn’t for civil servants to question this decision.
Ms Heywood wrote: “Jeremy’s compliance with this request may puzzle some readers.
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“But as he explained to me, the Civil Service works for the ministers of the crown rather than directly for the British public.
“It is, therefore, ministers who decide what work the Civil Service should do.”
The book also highlights over controversial aspects of Mr Cameron’s handling of the EU referendum.
It pointed out the prime minister authorised a £9.3million leaflet campaign to help convince the British public Brexit was a bad for the country.
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The book states: “The Referendum Unit produced several papers including one on Article 50, the mechanism in the European Union treaty that would need to be triggered to enable the UK to leave, and another on the options for the UK outside the EU.
“Their most controversial publication, however, was the leaflet that the Government wanted to send out to all 27 million British households on the case for remaining in the EU.”
At the time, the Government received a huge backlash for producing the leaflet.
Downing Street said the move was a response to polling which showed 85 percent of the public wanted more information from the Government to help them make an informed choice on June 23.
Mr Cameron said he would “make no apologies” for throwing the full weight of the Government behind one side of the argument.
He said: “It is not, in my view, just legal – I think is it necessary and right.”
The Electoral Commission also responded to the roll out of the pro-EU leaflet.
They said the Government was well within its right to publish material of this kind outside the purdah period – which starts 28 days before the referendum.
‘What Does Jeremy Think? Jeremy Heywood and the Making of Modern Britain’ (Harper Collins, £25) by Suzanne Heywood is out now.
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