Brexit betrayal: Fury at jaw-dropping UK civil service waste even after EU withdrawal

David Davis on what ‘triggered’ Frost’s resignation

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Lord David Frost’s trip to Brussels for talks with Maros Sefcovic in April cost an eye-watering £28,000, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. Brexit campaigner Jayne Adye has said the “exorbitant expenditure” highlighted a concerning Government tendency to waste cash, even after severing ties with Brussels.

Ms Adye, director of Get Britain Out, which submitted the FOI, acknowledged the need for UK negotiators to travel to the heart of the EU in the years after the 2016 referendum.

Her request revealed last year, even though teams were slimmed down as a result of the pandemic, UK taxpayers forked out £17,494.57 to host EU Commission Vice-President Mr Sefcovic in London on four occasions, plus two visits by European Commission officials.

The figure also included the cost of hosting both the inaugural Trade and Cooperation Agreement Partnership Council meetings and the eighth Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting on June 9.

However, more noteworthy is the cost of Lord Frost’s trip on April 15, at which time he, together with two officials, took an RAF flight to Brussels for evening talks with Mr Sefcovic, returning the same evening.

The cost of the trip, confirmed in a Cabinet Office document shared with Get Britain Out, was £27,593.51.

The previous year Michael Gove, who was then co-chair of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, made three visits to Brussels for meetings with Mr Sefcovic, including one on which he was accompanied by fellow minister Penny Mordaunt, Ms Adye pointed out.

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The total cost of all three came in at just £10,501.58.

Jayne Adye, Director of grassroots, cross-Party campaign Get Britain Out, told Express.co.uk: “We all understand negotiations need to take place and these will cost money, but why is it in the interest of British taxpayers to fund exorbitant expenditure like this?

“Voters, quite rightly, are most concerned when it comes to making sure the Government gets value for money.”

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Throughout last year Britain had ”seen little movement or success from any of our negotiations with the EU”, meaning all the cash had been ”wasted on pandering and perceptions”, she suggested.

She added: “Meanwhile, businesses and the public are still largely left in limbo more than five years after we voted to leave the EU!

“Lord Frost resigned from Government because, among other things, he objected to the trend towards increased taxes from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.

“Well, I would say to him, it would not be necessary to increase taxes so much if those in Government tightened their own belts when it comes to spending.

“Instead, it is the Great British Public who are forced to pay the price, while seeing their hard-earned pay cheques constantly shrink.”

Costs should inevitably have been “artificially reduced” over the last two years given the restrictions COVID-19 had inevitably placed on the number of face-to-face negotiating sessions which could be held, as well as the number of people able to attend.

She continued: “So why were the expenses for some of the few meetings which could actually take place, so high?

“The vast costs for these negotiations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Government expenses and the refusal to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the Civil Service – and Whitehall as a whole.

Brexit was about breaking away from a vastly inefficient and anonymous blob of bureaucracy

Jayne Adye

“It is time the Government introduced an effective independent watchdog on Government expenses which can properly seek to limit spending – and at the same time, make sure all the dead wood is removed and the Civil Service is made properly accountable, as after all it is paid for out of taxpayers’ pockets.”

Turning her attention to the reasons which fuelled Britain’s decision to quit the bloc, Ms Adye said: “Brexit was about breaking away from a vastly inefficient and anonymous blob of bureaucracy, spending money at will with little or no concern for the interests of the people.

“In the future, we must make sure – as we continue to reclaim our independence – the United Kingdom does not continue down this same grubby path as we head towards more freedom for a Global Britain.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Downing Street with regard to Ms Adye’s remarks.

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