The Conservative Party believes that the civil service, specifically officials who are perceived as left-leaning, Remain-supporting and opposed to the government's agenda, is trying to block the government's agenda by forcing ministers to resign.
The recent resignations of Rishi Sunak's deputy, Dominic Raab
, and concerns over Suella Braverman's conduct and performance have fueled this belief.
The disagreements between ministers and officials are rooted in a toxic mix of briefing and counter-briefing, with some current and former civil servants acknowledging that officials have fired the first shots.
Whitehall staff surveys confirm morale problems, and there is a "real concern" among senior leaders in the civil service and among ministers that officials are increasingly speaking out.
Attacks on the civil service as a bastion of inefficiency and intransigence are nothing new, but relations have deteriorated markedly under Johnson
and there is a perception that officials are taking matters into their own hands.
The relationship between the UK government and civil servants has been strained, with some reports suggesting that there is a conspiracy between government ministers to undermine the civil service.
However, these reports may have been exaggerated, and there is no central control or discipline among government officials.
The breakdown of trust between Westminster and Whitehall is damaging for the running of the country and may have contributed to the resignations of several high-ranking civil servants.
The current Cabinet Office Minister, Rishi Sunak, has improved morale among civil servants and has been seen as more approachable by Whitehall officials.
However, some believe that more needs to be done to actively defend the civil service and that the reset of relations may fall to the next government, whether that be led by Sunak or his Labour rival, Keir Starmer.