A row has broken out after it emerged that prominent Brexit campaigner Gisela Stuart is set to lead the civil service watchdog.
Stuart, a former Labour MP and chair of the Vote Leave campaign, was picked as Boris Johnson’s preferred choice for first civil service commissioner in December.
If confirmed, she would be the first politician to hold the role in more than 100 years.
As well as appearing alongside Johnson during the 2016 referendum, Stuart also urged voters to back the prime minister at the last general election.
As the head of the Civil Service Commission, Stuart will be tasked with regulating appointments for top jobs in Whitehall, overseeing the application of the civil service code and hearing complains from civil servants made under the code.
HuffPost UK has learned that Labour leader Keir Starmer has written to the Cabinet Office raising “questions over whether she is in a position to provide advice and oversight that is independent, impartial and objective”.
In a letter to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay, Starmer said that while Stuart had enjoyed an “admirable career”, “she is a former elected politician and chaired a national political campaign”.
“She is closely politically connected to the current government and has campaigned with many of them on important political matters that are still relevant to the challenges faced by departments,” he said.