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Jeremy Browne: Some bosses are a bit ‘control freakish’

10 March 2014

What makes a good Secretary of State? Today Jeremy Browne was interviewed on the Daily Politics about what it’s like to be a junior minister, from his experience of working in both the Foreign Office and Home Office. Towards the end, Jo Coburn asked whether it was true that he’d been given more freedom at the Foreign Office than he had when working for Theresa May at the Home Office. He said:

‘Well that would be telling tales, but I think… anybody who’s ever been in any workplace will know that some bosses are willing to give you a little bit more freedom and discretion and others are a bit more control freakish.’

Browne was known to complain to colleagues that he hadn’t received memos or briefings when working for May. But while this must have been frustrating for him as a minister, particularly one used to a different style of management after working with William Hague at the Foreign Office, it is perhaps one of the reasons that Theresa May has survived quite as long as she has at the Home Office, and why she also manages to emerge from rows with few cuts and bruises. If you micromanage your ministers so much that you know exactly what is going on the whole time, then you might drive them to distraction, but at least you have some idea of the problems approaching.

That said, the tensions between Number 10 and the Home Office are now such that James Brokenshire’s foolishly-worded speech managed to slip through the net.

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  • monty61

    The only thing freakish about this story is Jeremy Browne’s beard.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Pro EU politician who works in a nannying social engineering regime claims some bosses are control freaks. ROFLMAO. Priceless

    PS The Home Office are the Royalty of control freakery (42 day detention, ID Cards, Snoopers Charter, Equality [sic] dictat and political crassness agenda. The only thing that don’t want to control is immigration

  • Fraser Bailey

    Theresa May seems to me to be the best Home Office head in living memory. Infinitely better than the successive New Label incompetents, culminating with the grotesque Jacqui Smith. And it’s an impossible job. Everybody is against you – the Opposition, the BBC, the Guardian, the police, the human rights lawyers, the EU, your own civil servants…the list is endless. What an awful job.

  • Hello

    Micromanaging also makes you very vulnerable, because you have your hand in every cookie jar. Theresa May will be easy to dispatch when there are more women available for senior roles.

    • HookesLaw

      I’m sure you are right, but this seems yet another bit of pointlessness from the Spectator.

      • Hello

        On the contrary, I hadn’t realised until I saw this article that Jeremy Browne had gone quite so far off the rails. I’ll grant him that his beard is nicely trimmed, but it still looks as though he been living rough for the last month or so, and I can only assume that he smells bad.

        I understand that he wants to look hip and fashionable, but the beard just doesn’t work for gingers. It betrays a lack of ambition.

        So, on the whole, I think this article has been an invaluable contribution to the blog.

        • Frank

          TBH I would call the look quite camp.

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