Midway through David Cameron’s first term in office, The Times newspaper reported that an increasingly bitter power struggle between ministers and civil servants was poisoning relations and undermining the then prime minister’s reforms. A Conservative Cabinet minister commented that the working relationship had descended into a ‘cold war’; ministers felt blocked at every turn by an unwieldy and unwilling Civil Service uncomfortable with Cameron’s policies. The newspaper spoke to dozens of ministers and senior civil servants: ‘They think it’s their job just to say “No”’, one Cabinet minister said.
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