Lord O’Donnell Likens Tory Brexiters To “Snake Oil Salesmen”
Brexiter ministers and MPs have been branded as “snake oil salesmen” by Former civil service chief, slamming them for accusations that officials are plotting to sabotage Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell, known in Westminster as “GOD”, slapped down MPs, including hardline Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg who claimed that Treasury civil servants had “fiddled the figures” to show Britain would be worse off outside the EU, whatever the outcome of the negotiations.

O’Donnell told ITV’s Robert Peston that attacks on Whitehall officials were “completely crazy” and “ridiculous”.

He said honesty and objectivity ran through the core of civil servants “like a stick of rock”, and the forecasts would have been made in good faith.

“The truth is civil servants operate by the civil service code. The values are honesty, objectivity, integrity, impartiality,” he said.

“Their job is to look at the evidence and present it as best they can analyse the uncertainties … but that’s what they do, they’re objective and impartial.”

O’Donnell added: “Of course if you are selling snake oil, you don’t like the idea of experts testing your products.”

“What you find is that tends to get accepted when it agrees with someone’s prior beliefs. But actually, when someone doesn’t like the answer, they like to shoot the messenger.”

His comments follow those of former Whitehall mandarin Lord Turnbull, who accused Brexiteers who blame civil servants for trying to sabotage Britain’s withdrawal from the EU of using tactics similar to those used by right-wing German Nazis in the 1930s.

Turnbull said: “After the first world war there was an armistice, but the German army was then treated as the losers. Then, at the start of the Nazi era, the ‘stab-in-the back’ theme developed.”

Read More: May Misinterpreted Brexit Referendum’s Result In Favour Of Xenophobia: Former Finance Minister

Earlier on Friday, Brexit minister Steve Baker was forced to apologise in the House of Commons for repeating the conspiracy theory that civil servants had deliberately formulated analysis to suggest the benefits of Brexit would be dwarfed by the harm to economic growth.

Recently, Nigel Lawson, former chancellor under Margaret Thatcher also claimed that officials would attempt to frustrate Brexit because they were opposed to “radical change”.

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