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Home Office deletes ‘activist’ tweet amid complaints about ‘loudmouthed lawyers’ on social media

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Post had been condemned by the department’s top civil servant

The Home Office

The Home Office has deleted a tweet attacking “activist lawyers” after it was condemned by the department’s top civil servant.

Matthew Rycroft, permanent secretary at the under-fire ministry, said in response to a complaint that “the phrase… should not have been used on an official government channel”. The tweet has now been taken down.

Rycroft added: “I have made clear to the team this post should not be used again from Home Office accounts or anywhere else by civil servants.”

But others in the Home Office doubled down on the lawyer-bashing language. A “Whitehall source” told the Times (£) that Home Secretary Priti Patel — Rycroft’s boss — “was familiar with the language used and did not think that it was wrong”.

And another source went even further, complaining to the paper about “a bunch of particularly loudmouthed lawyers and barristers who seem to spend more time on social media than representing their clients”.

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Rycroft’s intervention came in response to a complaint about the tweet by the economist and former civil servant Jonathan Portes, who called it “a very clear breach” of government comms rules. The condemnation by the department’s top man appears to have caught more junior colleagues on the hop, with the Home Office going from defending the comment to referring journalists to Portes’s tweet reporting his conversation with Rycroft.

The tweet had been roundly condemned by the legal establishment as an attack on the rule of law.

The Home Office Twitter account has caused controversy before for its politicised output. It often replies directly to NGOs critical of its policies to accuse them of “misleading” the public.

Rycroft is relatively new to the Home Office, having taken over from Philip Rutnam after the latter’s spectacular falling out with Home Secretary Patel (coming soon to an employment tribunal near you).

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11 Comments

Anonymous

#1 source of complaints: LC’s comment section

(6)(6)

Lawyer (not the activist kind)

That quote that the Secret Barrister has tweeted in the above screenshot – If I’m honest I actually find myself agreeing with every word of it. I suspect that a significant portion of the profession will also be in agreement . . .

(34)(9)

Anonymous

It’s a jolly holiday with Jolyon, tweeting never ending rage

Claims it’s all professional; but his clients are on a different page.

(14)(4)

Richard

Good. The Home Office needs to know its place. It is not immune to criticism and it cannot be saying things that are quite simply wrong without being called out. It is a slippery slope if you let a bunch of lunatics like them go unchecked.

(16)(11)

Anonymous

It occurs to me that you could substitute “Home Office” for “Legal Twitterati” in that post, and the meaning would be just as valid.

Arguably more so.

(19)(13)

Deactivated lawyer

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time

(10)(2)

Anon

Speaking from personal experience.

The Home Office has serious structural issues. The institution is singularly focused on removing as many people as possible from the country. It looks at numbers, not individuals.

The Home Office has always had serious issues with hating leftie lawyers. Not just leftie lawyers either, just any lawyers opposing their ‘get them out’ mindset on a day by day basis.

If I was ever Home Secretary I’d be very tempted to burn the whole institution down and start from scratch, with new people. Or at the very least hive off immigration into a new department with new people. I don’t see any other way – the groupthink is permanently embedded.

(16)(6)

Anonymous

Shame the truth is being silenced. Last second hopeless appeals funded by taxpayers are rife and must be stamped out.

(4)(7)

Anon

Then change the law.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The law does not need changing, the tribunals just need to impose wasted costs and refer these lawyers to professional bodies for misconduct.

(3)(4)

Anon

Try all you want to paint the immigration lawyers like you do. There is some truth in it. But you have swept over the fact that it’s the Home Office that acts disreputably every day when it removes people it knows full well it shouldn’t.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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