DAVID CAMERON has created a Whitehall time warp where four in five senior civil servants are “pale, male and for sale,” Labour said yesterday.
Sir Humphrey Appleby, the oleaginous plum-voiced, Oxford-educated mandarin of Yes Minister, has become the caricature for civil servants.
That stereotype was broken after three terms of Labour government, with half of permanent secretaries at the top 16 government departments being women by 2011.
But research by Labour suggests the corridors of power have again begun to resemble the 1980s sit com, with the Prime Minister’s decision to start hand-picking senior civil servants.
Since taking power in 2010, the Mr Cameron has appointed eight men and just two women and replaced a woman with a man on nine separate occasions.
Only in January, he replaced Una O’Brien with Chris Wormald as permanent secretary at the Department of Health.
His appointments mean that over 80 per cent of permanent secretaries are now men, with just two women among the 16 heads of department.
Civil Service Minister Matt Hancock said in his first speech that “to govern Britain, the civil service must look more like Britain.”
But shadow civil service minister Louise Haigh MP said it was proof the Tories had “taken government back to the days of Sir Humphrey.”
She said: “The truth is, those at the top of government prefer it to look and sound just like them.
“And if rich, white men make all the decisions, it is no surprise when the cuts fall on the vulnerable.”