Jacob Rees-Mogg defends Downing Street amid questions over recruitment

The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The front door of number 10 Downing Street in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) - (Copyright PA Archive)
15:06pm, Thu 03 Sep 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Downing Street has been defended after Labour claimed there is “something rotten” at the heart of Number 10 and questioned its recruitment processes.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted “fine intellects” are housed in No 10 and claimed it is not possible to imagine a “better functioning” Government than the one led by Boris Johnson.

His remarks came after shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz highlighted a Guardian report which said a data specialist recruited to the civil service following Dominic Cummings’ call for “weirdos and misfits” to work for the UK Government had been sacked.

The newspaper reported the individual was dismissed because of a post on social media regarding Black Lives Matters demonstrators.

Dominic Cummings (Jonathan Brady/PA) - (Copyright PA Wire)

Mr Cummings, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in January issued a recruitment call for data scientists, economists and “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to shake up the Civil Service.

Ms Vaz, calling for an urgent statement on the recruitment process at No 10, said: “There is now yet another person who has applied to the adverts for ‘weirdos and misfits’ who has now had to resign because of their extreme views.

“And a minister has had to relinquish shares in a company because his company was given a contract under these emergency schemes.

“Now that goes to the heart of No 10.

“There is something rotten at the heart of No 10.”

Mr Rees-Mogg responded: “We are lucky that No 10 Downing Street has such fine people working there – fine intellects, people doing their best for this country, people thinking things through, coming up with inspired ideas, and I do not think it would be possible to imagine a better functioning, more forward-looking Government than the one we currently have.”

Sign up to our newsletter