Headlines, PublicNet: 3 June, 1997

The rash of political appointments in Whitehall has brought charges of politicising the Civil Service. John Major said: “More political appointments have been made in the last month than in the previous 18 years.” A list of special advisers appointed since the general election and published by the Cabinet Office, contains 50 names.The list includes Jonathan Powell, Blair’s chief of staff. Powell’s appointment has triggered controversy about where the dividing line between the Civil Service and political advisers should be drawn. It is thought that he was due to take over the role of principal private secretary to the prime minister. The post is currently held by Alex Allen who formerly served John Major. Following a protest from Sir Robin Butler, head of the Civil Service, there was a denial from the prime minister’s office of any plan to encroach on Civil Service territory. In this case the dividing line is being maintained.

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