Chancellor ‘had the right’ to sack top civil servant, says ex-Treasury minister

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The former chief secretary to the Treasury and a key Liz Truss ally has said he never had a problem with a top Whitehall mandarin sacked by the new Government.

Simon Clarke, the current Levelling Up Secretary, told ITV’s Peston programme that he never personally had an issue with the most senior official at the Treasury, permanent secretary Sir Tom Scholar.

Sir Tom’s sacking, on the first day of the new administration, prompted accusations that the new administration was treating the civil service “improperly”.

Prime Minister Ms Truss has previously railed against “Treasury orthodoxy” and the decision to get rid of Sir Tom, on the first day of her new Government, was seen as a signal of her determination to change the direction of economic policy.

Mr Clarke defended the sacking however, suggesting it was in the gift of the new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.

“This is a question about what a new Chancellor has the right to do when he or she enters office to make sure that they have the right team around them to deliver the programme that they are embarking upon.

“And in that sense this is a perfectly normal choice. I mean Terry Burns left the Treasury shortly after Gordon Brown became chancellor back in 1998. You need to have people with whom you can work.”