It is crying foul over the decision by the head of the UK Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to ban his workers from providing support to the Ministers seeking the country’s UK withdrawal.
There have been howls of anger from the United Kingdom Independence Party, with a European Parliament Member, Nathan Gill, saying it was a “stitch-up”, denying senior Eurosceptic figures the “significant bodies of work” that Civil Servants must already have done on the impact of a Brexit victory in the referendum.
Sir Jeremy is completely right in his decision. Keeping Britain in the European Union on the terms negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels is official Government policy and Civil Servants work for the Government — end of story.
Mr Cameron is perfectly entitled to rely on the resources of the Civil Service to promote his policies as he would in any other Government campaign, for example to warn of the dangers of smoking.
The Brexit campaign is simply a lobby group putting a contrary view. Like any other lobby group it must employ its own experts, researchers and propagandists to deliver its message.
What makes this a little different is that some Ministers in Mr Cameron’s Government have been given leave to campaign against his policy and promote Brexit. This is unprecedented and a huge concession on the part of the Prime Minister.
Ordinarily Ministers would have been forced to resign their office and campaign as ordinary Members of Parliament. They might even have faced the withdrawal of the whip in the House of Commons — in effect suspension from the party.
The fact that Mr Cameron has not taken this course is partly pragmatic — he does not want to split the Conservative Party — but also because he understands the deeply held conviction of some Ministers and MPs that the UK has no place in the European experiment. He has been extraordinarily generous.
But of course the Brexit lobby group wants more — and will continue to shout discrimination through the campaign in order to promote the fiction that it is the gallant, patriotic underdog fighting against the dead hand of the Brussels and Whitehall bureaucracies.
It balks at a frontal attack on Mr Cameron. Instead it savages Sir Jeremy, a thoroughly decent but defenceless Civil Servant, for doing his job.
Sadly a preview of what is almost certain to come.