George Brandis, Canberra’s former ambassador to London, said “Whitehall horror” at Brexit caused some negotiators to display “reluctance bordering on hostility” during talks. Britons have now asked why the civil servants are “still employed”.
In an interview with the Spectator, Mr Brandis claimed Liz Truss and the Australian side were “both fighting Whitehall”.
He said: “The default position in Whitehall was horror at Brexit.
“So there were really three sides to the trade negotiation: a large element of the Whitehall establishment, the Australian side, and then Liz Truss and those close to her.
“We were, in a sense, both fighting Whitehall.”
Express reader Fred Hendon said: “This does not surprise me.
“You only have to look at the way the Home Office ‘operates’ to see the civil servants seem to think they run the country.
“Sack the lot and get in workers who do the best for their ministers irrespective of which colour is in power, red, blue, or yellow..”
User PGD also said: “If I scuppered my bosses plans I’d be given my P45. So why are these civil servants still employed?”
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More readers chimed in with anger over the alleged interference by civil servants.
User oak said: “Civil servants are there to work with Government policy, if they don’t do their job, sack them.”
Another user, QuiteEasyReilly, said: “Out these snivel servants, - let’s get a proper stiff broom of publicity to remove them from office.”
User milesian argued: “At least someone has taken the concerns of British farmers seriously!”
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The landmark £10.4billion trade deal between the UK and Australia was eventually signed last December and is predicted to boost trade between the two countries.
In December, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our UK-Australia trade deal is a landmark moment in the historic and vital relationship between our two Commonwealth nations.
“This agreement is tailored to the UK’s strengths, and delivers for businesses, families, and consumers in every part of the UK – helping us to level up.
“We will continue to work together in addressing shared challenges in global trade, climate change and technological changes in the years ahead.
“Today we demonstrate what the UK can achieve as an agile, independent sovereign trading nation.
“This is just the start as we get on the front foot and seize the seismic opportunities that await us on the world stage.”
At the end of March, analysis by groups including WWF, Compassion in World Farming, Greener UK, RSPCA, Sustain and Which?, said the deal contains “no safeguards” for environmental protections or animal welfare, and “weakens existing safeguards” on food safety.
Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: “With the right policies in place, UK trade could incentivise best-in-class, sustainable food production at home and abroad.
“By contrast, allowing our trade deal with Australia, a laggard on climate and nature, to be a blueprint for future trade deals would be a backward step for the environment.
“When we do our weekly shop we shouldn’t be presented with products that have contributed to destroying the environment and driving up global temperatures.”