The head of the Government Legal Department has resigned amid anger over suggestions Boris Johnson is planning to override elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Sir Jonathan Jones’s departure was confirmed by the Attorney General’s Office, which declined to comment on the reason for the latest exit in a string of resignations of top civil servants.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Sir Jonathan was quitting as the department’s permanent secretary due to a dispute with Downing Street.
Andrew Adonis Tweeted: “We are going to hear a lot more about Sir Jonathan Jones, the government’s chief legal adviser, who has resigned rather than be a party to breaking international treaties.”
Two Whitehall officials were said to have told the paper that he was departing over concerns the Prime Minister wanted to row back on parts of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said: “I can confirm Sir Jonathan has resigned but cannot comment further.”
AC Grayling Tweeted: “Jonathan Jones is the 6th top civil servant to resign this year so far. Cummings wants to clear out the old guard & replace with his (his word) ‘weirdos’ so that the pesky rule of law can be junked & government can run by diktat. This is his often publicly stated aim. A coup.”
His is the sixth resignation of a senior civil servant this year amid growing tensions between officials and Downing Street as Mr Johnson and his top aide Dominic Cummings plan an overhaul of Whitehall.
Labour’s shadow attorney general Lord Falconer tweeted: “Jonathan Jones impressive lawyer and very decent person. Loyal civil servant.
“If he can’t stay in the public service, there must be something very rotten about this Government. Reckless, law breaking, trashing the best of the UK.”
FT Whitehall correspondent Sebastian Payne Tweeted: “Whitehall insiders say his resignation follows months of tensions with attorney general Suella Braverman over the legal implications of a no deal Brexit.”
FT journalist Jim Pickard tweeted: “One former colleague of Jonathan Jones: “He is a person of enormous personal modesty. He is not someone who has ever wanted to push himself into the limelight. If he has done this it demonstrates that he must see what they are doing as a terrible insult to the law.”