Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-144)|
THURSDAY 18 OCTOBER 2001
PRESCOTT MP, THE
TRADESTON CBE AND
(Mr Prescott) Well, the Prime Minister
does and that has always been so. The Secretary of the Cabinet
reports to him directly on that, in matters where we have described
there is the division of certain responsibilities for it. Have
I got it correctly?
(Mavis McDonald) Yes, that is right.
141. We have asked the Prime Minister to come and
talk to us about these kinds of things. He said it was somebody
else's responsibility, Mo Mowlam's. Now we have not got a Cabinet
(Mr Prescott) Well, we have somebody
who will directly answer for the questions in these matters which
will be Chris Leslie in the House of Commons.
142. Not a Cabinet Member?
(Mr Prescott) No, he is not a Cabinet
Member but there is a responsibility. Certainly the Cabinet Member
is the Prime Minister.
143. We must ask the Prime Minister again.
(Mr Prescott) You have the Secretary
of the Cabinet coming, good luck.
Mr Trend: Not quite the same.
144. Can I just ask, in addition, without going back
to stuff we were doing at the beginning, I just would put it to
you, the Government is committed to introducing Civil Service
legislation. Would this not be the way of just showing people
that if this was the first government that had actually put the
Civil Service on a basis which gave it some statutory constitutional
protection it would see off all these criticisms somehow about
politicisation, contamination and all that? So instead of us annually
saying that we are in favour of all this, why you not just get
on and do it?
(Mr Prescott) Well, part of that is to
do with legislative time. We are not disagreeing in principle.
I am not so convinced, and I have heard you on a programme and
read you in evidence saying that people feel this, I do not think
in the main people share those views. But, leaving that aside,
you have properly expressed that and represent the people for
that. We have promised to do a legislative framework and I think
as you will see when the Cabinet Secretary comes, and I indeed
will answer to this effect, we do intend to do that. We do not
necessarily totally agree with everything you have said on that.
Quite a lot of what you have said is so and we will produce that
legislation. I will make it clear that it is the view of this
Committee to the Prime Minister and others that you very much
feel it should be an order of priority in our legislative framework.
Chairman: We are very grateful to you for coming
along. We share absolutely the Government's commitment to make
delivery central. We look to you as the midwives and we shall
no doubt want to get the midwives back at some point to ask how
the delivery is going and also how you see the system that has
now been set up, as to whether it itself is proving effective
in doing the job that is being done. Thank you for coming and
talking to us so openly and frankly.