Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ex-cabinet secretaries urge the prime minister to stop the blockade on reforms to contain the filth

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Every living former cabinet secretary has told Boris Johnson to stop blocking reforms to contain the filth – one urged MPs to act if they refused to do so.

A report by a guard calling for the Prime Minister to lose his power to decide whether to investigate alleged violations of ministerial law has been gathering dust for three years.

Despite the public anger over the scandals surrounding Owen Paterson and second jobs, the government is again ready to reject the decision of a truly independent body.

Now former civil servants – all the way from Prime Ministers from Margaret Thatcher to Mr Johnson – have urged him to seize the moment to quell the filth.

One, Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary from 2005 to 2011, suggested that if the Prime Minister remains on his heels, Parliament should take control.

“When faced with all sorts of filth problems, John Major took the opportunity to put systems in place that would improve the integrity of public life and people’s confidence in public life,” said Lord O’Donnell.

“We want the Prime Minister to look at the report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and make its recommendations.”

The peer said the post of advisor to the prime minister on ministerial interests – currently Christopher Geidt – must be on a “legal basis” and be able to investigate alleged ministerial code violations.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he added: “This is Parliament’s business – and personally I would ask Parliament to say yes, it should have the right to do so.”

more follows

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