Remainer Civil Service on alert as leading Brexiteer Baroness Gisela Stuart handed top job

Gisela Stuart joins the House of Lords as a peer in 2020

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The former Labour MP is best known as the chair and co-convener of Vote Leave, the pro-Brexit group prominent during the 2016 EU referendum. Steve Barclay, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, announced Baroness Stuart who has been a crossbench peer since 2020, had been appointed as the new Civil Service Commissioner.

The Civil Service Commission is an executive non-departmental body sponsored by the Cabinet Office.

It exists to ensure that civil servants are selected on merit on the basis of free and fair competition and to safeguard an impartial civil service.

According to, Mr Barclay said that Baroness Stuart had all the right attributes for the position.

He said: “I am delighted to confirm that Baroness Stuart is now appointed to the role of First Civil Service Commissioner

“Baroness Stuart has all the attributes, experience and independence of judgement needed to lead the Civil Service Commission highly effectively.

“I would like to thank Rosie Glazebrook for carrying out the functions of the office so effectively while we undertook the recruitment process.

“I am also grateful to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for carrying out pre-appointment scrutiny to provide additional assurance to this process and thank them for their report.”

Baroness Stuart said that she was “honoured” to be appointed to the position. 

However, she also implied that she was going to ensure political neutrality, a source of complaint amongst ministers particularly during the controversies of Brexit.

She said: “I am honoured to be appointed as First Civil Service Commissioner.

“I look forward to leading the important work of the Civil Service Commission in upholding the impartiality of the Civil Service, and ensuring that we have a highly skilled and diverse Civil Service that can deliver effectively for the citizens of the United Kingdom.”

German born Baroness Stuart moved to the UK in 1974 to study Business and improve her English.

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After a legal career she became the first ever Labour MP for the Birmingham Edgbaston constituency in 1997 until 2017.

She also served as Under Secretary of State for Health from 1999 to 2001.

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