May’s Brexit Approach Slammed by Leader of Civil-Service Union

  • Premier not facing up to complexity, FDA head cited as saying
  • More resources needed or Brexit priorities will have to change

The head of the labor union representing senior U.K. civil servants criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for not acknowledging the “complexity” of Brexit, according to the Guardian newspaper.

“The politics around Brexit are the biggest risk to Brexit,” FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was cited as saying by the Guardian on Wednesday. “Ministers lack the political courage to admit how complex and time-consuming this will be.”

The latest critique of the government’s approach to leaving the European Union adds to concerns that the U.K. has not put in place the resources to deal with such a large task. A report by the Institute for Government published earlier this month said the civil service has been left bereft of “money, staff and information.”

May has said she will trigger Article 50, starting the formal process of exiting the EU, by the end of March. Penman said ministries, with the exception of the newly created international trade department and the Foreign Office, are stretched because of a program of cuts and a burdensome domestic agenda. The Home Office and the Department for Environment will find it particularly challenging over the next year, he said.

“The civil service is either going to have to be given more resources to deal with Brexit and its usual work or it will have to change its priorities,” Penman was cited by the Guardian as saying.

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