Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Sure I Will Be on Sir George Young's Xmas Card List...

From yesterday's Hansard...

Hilary Benn: I thank the Leader of the House for his statement and the recess dates, but when will we know the dates for the rest of the Session? Last week I raised with the Leader of the House the fact that major Government announcements were appearing in newspapers before they were made to the House. This week-one of profound importance for the country-we find that exactly the same thing has happened again. Details of Tuesday's strategic defence and security review were in the newspapers over several days leading up to it. In other words, journalists got lots of advance information, whereas the Leader of the Opposition got the Prime Minister's statement only 15 minutes before it was made, and in recent days much of the comprehensive spending review has been leaked before the Chancellor got around to telling us about it yesterday.

21 Oct 2010 : Column 1134

It seems pretty clear now that Ministers believe that those who report on Parliament are much more important than those who are actually Members of Parliament. It has got so bad that the Conservative former parliamentary candidate and blogger Iain Dale has urged you, Mr Speaker, to take the Government to the cleaners over what has been going on. I wonder, therefore, whether the Leader of the House has plans to clean up this mess. He did not explain last week, but perhaps he can do so now.


Boo said...

Problem is that even if a personal letter between the Minster of defense and the PM gets leaked, everything else will be.

Not sure the government could unilaterally disarm on this even if they wanted to.

Michael Heaver said...

Bloggers gaining more respect can only be a good thing.

Stephen Wigmore said...

Damn right Iain. You do the right thing by continuing to raise this issue. The government should make announcements to parliament, not the media.

Keeping bringing it up Iain, you may get somewhere.

Dame Davina Pancake said...

I have raised this with my MP (now a Tory Minister)and his reply was:

"Something as complex as the CSR and the SDR involves people from across Government, academia and the QUANGO sector. It is almost impossible to imagine you could carry out something on this scale without it leaking. I can only speak from my experience that Ministers and senior Officials in my dept took every precaution to keep the contents of our departmental budget secret in the months of negotiations with the Treasury.....I know that the Cabinet Office and Number 10 had taken every precaution to ensure that Ministers and Civil Servants do not leak important announcements before they go to Parliament."


Davina x

PS: Sorry for being so windy, but hey.