Rachel Johnson backs Rees-Mogg's drive for office return: 'They're on their pelotons'

24 April 2022, 21:40 | Updated: 25 April 2022, 13:06

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Rachel Johnson says she agrees with Jacob Rees-Mogg's drive to get civil servants back in the office, insisting too many people are "on their pelotons", "watching Netflix" and "home working".

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The minister for government efficiency has been criticised for leaving notes a Cabinet Office area following a tip-off from a minister that the space that can fit "dozens" of staff had been left "completely empty".

Printed on government paper with Mr Rees-Mogg's title, the notes had the message: "Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon."

Rachel said: "I'm quite happy to have a bit of hyrid working and a bit of flex in everybody's schedule but I think I essentially agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg."

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She added there was a "veiled threat" from Mr Rees-Mogg that "if you don't go back to the office in person you are basically signalling to your bosses that they can reassign your position."

"I think maybe that is what is needed," she said.

Rachel continued: "I'm in the middle of an administrative, bureaucratic nightmare to do with probate and the delay for probate because people are working from home I think is up to a year."

She also pointed to the DVLA and driving licences "being held up".

She said: "It's holding up people's lives because people are sitting at home working from home.

"They're on their pelotons, they're not on their bikes trying to find jobs, they've got jobs, but they're on their pelotons, they're watching Netflix and they're home working.

"I know there will be people that say it's much easier to combine childcare or caring for elderly parent with home working and I take that point.

"But I do think Jacob Rees-Mogg is probably right on this and if you have taken a job on the assumption that you will be in your department, you will be having face-to-face meetings, you will be doing all the things you used to do in person... then I think you are contractually bound to do that."