Gove’s ‘union unit’ seeks new staff but knowledge of Scotland not essential

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EMPLOYEES in a Cabinet Office team working on strengthening the union do not need to have knowledge of Scotland to work there, it has emerged. 

Job adverts have been posted for the Union Directorate, a special unit set up by Michael Gove to tackle the rise in support for independence in 2019.

Several senior roles have been advertised, however knowledge of policy relating to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is listed only as a “desirable” rather than an essential skill needed. 

It comes after Luke Graham, former Conservative MP, was sacked as head of the unit last week and replaced with a protégé of Dominic Cummings, Oliver Lewis.

Now the cabinet office is looking for several new employees including a head of policy, head of strategy and analysis, and head of engagement and strategic communications.

The average pay for a civil servant at the same level is around £55,000.

The unit is described as “a small, focused team of policy professionals, analysts, comms experts and external secondees with a focus on making the benefits of the Union clear, visible and understood.”

The adverts add: “The Union Directorate is responsible for the overall Union strategy, as well as driving delivery across Whitehall and beyond.”

The SNP has hit out at the adverts, saying it shows the unit itself is “clueless”.

MSP Keith Brown, the party’s depute leader said: “Michael Gove’s Union Unit is clueless and doomed to fail. 

“It reeks of Westminster arrogance that the Tories are willing to hire a senior staff member who lacks a basic understanding of ‘issues relevant to Scotland’.

“The taxpayer shouldn’t be paying through the nose for this Tory flag waving exercise.

“Decisions about Scotland should be taken in Scotland – not Whitehall.” 

The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment.

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