Cull of civil servants in wake of 'Mooregate'

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Indy Politics

Civil servants at the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions are facing a further cull after the resignations of Stephen Byers' spin doctor Jo Moore and his press secretary Martin Sixsmith.

The coming reorganisation is seen as a public warning to civil servants across Whitehall against engaging in whispering campaigns. There are also likely to be fresh questions about the politicisation of the civil service.

The Independent on Sunday has learnt that Tony Blair will be summoned to give evidence to a select committee on Downing Street's role at the heart of Government.

He is expected to reject the call by Tony Wright, the Labour chairman of the Public Administration committee but that could provoke a fresh outcry about the lack of checks on the Government. Dr Wright said more controls were needed on the army of spin doctors, which has doubled to more than 80, at a cost to the taxpayer of £4.4m, since Labour came to power.

It is believed Ms Moore and Mr Sixsmith will each leave with a five-figure pay-off. Others from the transport press office will be told this week they are being moved to other Whitehall departments but all the big players in the department have been damaged by the affair.

The permanent secretary, Sir Richard Mottram, is being blamed by ministers for presiding over the débâcle which could wreck his chances of replacing Sir Richard Wilson as Cabinet Secretary. Mr Byers' judgement is also being questioned. "He was too loyal to [Ms Moore]," said one Cabinet source. "He should have sacked her months ago. She was a liability," said another.