Jacob Rees-Mogg has been labelled a “nasty patronising man” after reportedly leaving notes on the desks of civil servants who were not in the office.
In a letter to cabinet ministers this week, Rees-Mogg argued that the return to in-person working would bring the benefits of “face-to-face, collaborative working” as well as delivering wider benefits for the economy.
On Friday, podcast producer Dino Sofos posted a picture on Twitter of an official-looking note apparently authored by Rees-Mogg, who is also minister for Brexit opportunities.
It read: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon. Wish every good wish.”
The alleged note caused an exasperated response on social media, with some pointing out the officials may have been away from their desk briefly (like Rees-Mogg himself) and that the WFH crackdown could prompt people to quit in favour of the private sector.
Labour MP Chris Bryant wrote: “What a nasty patronising man he is.”
With up to three-quarters of staff still reportedly working from home, Rees-Mogg accompanied his letter with a league table showing how many staff in each government department were attending the office on an average day.
The drive has been branded “vindictive” by Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA representing senior civil servants, who said ministers were out of step with practice in the private sector.