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The civil service is having to prepare for a future it cannot possibly foresee

Uncertainty can cloud any election campaign in Whitehall. But the fog is thicker than ever

By Catherine Haddon   December 2019

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10239625b) A pedestrian passes a street sign on Whitehall where cross- party talks over Brexit have been on-going in London, Britain, 17 May 2019. Talks over Brexit between the government and Labour have broken down, Labour announced 17 May. Talks over Brexit between the government and Labour break down, London, United Kingdom - 17 May 2019

There will be no MPs to tread the corridors of the Palace of Westminster during the 25-day election campaign. In departments across Whitehall, however, civil servants remain in post, ministers in office, and the government continues to govern.

But this is anything but business as usual. Once the campaign kicks in, restrictions are put in place that mean ministers must “observe discretion”…

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