Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development

Did Andrew Mitchell have a rubber stamp?

Splendid letter in the Financial Times today from the most senior civil servant in the British Department for International Development.

Rubber stamp that intrigued the press

From Mr Mark Lowcock.

Sir, I did enjoy Kiran Stacey’s review of the new Yes, Prime Minister (The Review, Business Life, January 17). I confess to being more of a The Thick of It man myself. Which is, perhaps, why I raised my eyebrows at the claim that civil servants at the Department for International Development under Andrew Mitchell were surprised to see policy briefing notes that failed to meet his standards returned to them with the word “bollocks” stamped on the front.

We would indeed have been surprised, and more, at that. Andrew had the stamp and visiting journalists, especially, were much intrigued by it. But he never used it.

Mark Lowcock, Permanent Secretary, Department for International Development, UK

(From the FT, 22 January 2013)


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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and