Paul Flynn MP lambasting mandarins
Paul Flynn MP lambasting mandarins

A Labour MP walked out in disgust after lambasting two top Whitehall mandarins over a "disgraceful" article they wrote about Baroness Thatcher.

Paul Flynn accused Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood of "prostituting your high office."

Flynn was furious about an article written by Heywood and head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake published in the Daily Telegraph.

Delivering a scorching critique of the piece, he said: 'You penned an article that was entirely sycophantic, no kind of criticism whatsoever. This is not what civil servants traditionally should do."

With the influential pair sitting before the Public Administration Select Committee in Parliament, Flynn accused them both of being out of touch.

Describing former Prime Minister Thatcher as a "kind and considerate boss" and citing "her radical tax reforms" was out of order, Flynn insisted.

"The main controversy going on in the country may have passed you by is on the verdict on Margaret Thatcher's period in government, this is something which divides this country, it's the hottest political issue of the moment."

But Heywood claimed the article was not about her policies, but focused upon their personal experience of working with Thatcher in the civil service.

(l-r) Sir Bob Kerslade and Sir Jeremy Heywood
(l-r) Sir Bob Kerslade and Sir Jeremy Heywood

Efforts of committee chairman Bernard Jenkins to move on failed, as Flynn returned to the issue again.

"I believe what's happened is breach of all the traditions of the civil servants. I believe you have prostituted your high office and deserted your political neutrality.

"I believe you have both displayed disgracefully,'

"I'm going to leave the meeting, not entirely for this reason but I think there is no point in continuing unless we can press this issue to a conclusion."

Writing in right-leaning Telegraph Sir Jeremy and Sir Robert delivered an insider's view of working with Thatcher, who died last week and whose funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral, on April 17th.

Margaret Thatcher's coffin is carried at St Paul's
Margaret Thatcher's coffin is carried at St Paul's

"Alongside radical tax reforms, the abandonment of exchange controls and prices and incomes policies, the introduction of Right to Buy, a major overhaul of industrial relations law and the world's first privatisation programme, Margaret Thatcher also led a significant programme of Civil Service reform.

'Her infamous working hours allowed the prime minister to consume vast quantities of briefings and from her No 10 flat she would nourish her civil servants with home-cooked shepherd's pie whenever they were working late.

"To the country she was an Iron Lady, to those who worked with her she was a kind and considerate boss."