Boris Johnson says 'I'm going to get on with my job'
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The Foreign Secretary has been accused of resisting the Prime Minister’s attempts to slash the size of the civil service and of consulting hardline Brexiteers in the Conservative party on standing up to the EU. Mr Johnson is understood to have been frustrated at Ms Truss consulting members of the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tory MPs.
At a meeting of ministers yesterday morning, the Prime Minister is understood to have moaned about the South West Norfolk MP bringing in backbenchers to get their views on legislation intended to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Government will next week present a Bill in Parliament to unilaterally take action over Brussels’ heavy-handed implementation of Brexit customs checks.
The ERG have been some of the most vocal critics of Mr Johnson for not taking action sooner.
Members of the group were responsible for the downfall of Theresa May’s time in No10 after repeatedly refusing to back her deal with the EU.
Ms Truss’s decision to get the group on side in tackling Brussels in the latest row is seen by some as an attempt to sure up their support for a future run at the leadership.
A Remain supporter in the 2016 election, the Foreign Secretary is still not trusted by some in the party when it comes to Brexit.
Her decision to reject calls for a cut in civil service numbers has also raised eyebrows.
Mr Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg want to reduce the civil service headcount by 91,000 people.
Departments were asked to start looking at ways to slash jobs to help meet the target.
However, in a letter sent to the Prime Minister in March, Ms Truss instead demanded an increase in staff at the Foreign Office.
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She said the war in Ukraine, along with dealing with the EU, meant a larger department was necessary.
The Foreign Service currently employs approximately 7,000 staff making it one of the smallest in Whitehall.
The manoeuvring from Ms Truss has come to light just days after Mer Johnson survived an attempt by some Conservatives to oust him.
On Monday 148 of his own MPs voted to turf him out as party leader.
Ms Truss has publicly voiced her support for Mr Johnson to remain in the top job.
She said earlier this week it was “time to move on” from internal party fighting.
She tweeted: “Pleased that colleagues have backed the Prime Minister. I support him 100 percent.
“Now’s the time to get on with the job.”
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