Special AdvisersWhen he was asked in writing by Norman Baker what steps he took to ensure that the ministerial code had not been breached, his response was simply,
Ministerial Travel 2007-08
Ministerial Gifts (2007-08)
Advisory Committee on Business Appointments
UK Visits 2007-08 Made by the Prime Minister
Official Hospitality (Chequers)
Official and Charity Receptions: 10 Downing Street
Council of Europe and Western European Union
Security (Annual Reports)
National Security Strategy
The information was published when it was readyI shall now be blunt and say in some of these cases that is patently bollocks. Take for example the official hospitality at Chequers, or charity receptions at Number 10.
On numerous occasions over the past year questions have been asked about this and each time, anmswering has been avoided. When I have posted about this in the past I have asked the same question, how difficult is it to look at a diary?
Now I'm not saying Brown has breached the ministerial code, but the fact is, much of the information published as been asked for by a number of MPs over the last year for specifc periods and the answer has always been that it will published as a full list later sometime.
That doesn't sound like every effort is being made to avoid dumping stuff on people when they all go holiday now does it? The dismissive tone of the answer as well, and the idea that the information was not "ready" at earlier times when it had been asked for seems to me like nonsense.
To be totally fair, Blair used to do this too, and don't expect it to change whoever is in Number 10 and whatever party they are leading.