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Number 10 cancels staff leave up to Brexit day fuelling election speculation

Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser emailed all special advisers informing them that no holidays should be booked until October 31.

Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister emailed all special advisers (Kirsty Wigglewsorth/PA)
Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister emailed all special advisers (Kirsty Wigglewsorth/PA)

By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor

Downing Street has cancelled all leave for Government advisers in the run up to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU on October 31.

Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister emailed all special advisers on Thursday informing them that no holidays should be booked until the end of October.

The move is likely to fuel speculation that ministers are preparing the ground for a general election after MPs return to Westminster in September.

In his email, seen by The Guardian, Sir Edward told staff there had been “some confusion about taking holiday”.

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Sir Edward Lister said no leave should be booked until October 31 (Yui Mok/PA)

He said no leave should be booked until October 31 and that compensation would be considered “on case by case basis” for those who already had holidays booked.

“There is serious work to be done between now and October 31 and we should be focused on the job,” the email said.

A Government source said that the decision reflected Mr Johnson’s determination to ensure the country was fully prepared for Brexit when the time came.

“The Government has been very clear that it has got to deliver exit from the EU on October 31, with or without a deal,” the source said.

“One of the ways to get Whitehall working is through special advisers.”

PA

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