The Prime Minister's adviser on Ministers' interests: independent or not? - Public Administration Committee Contents

4  Conclusion

61. We regret that Sir Philip Mawer was not consulted in the course of the events leading up to the resignation of Liam Fox. This decision suggests an unwillingness to refer difficult cases to the independent adviser and prompts questioning over the role and remit of this post.

62. Sir Philip's retirement shortly afterwards provided the Prime Minister with a timely opportunity to demonstrate the value he places on having investigations into complaints against Ministers investigated in a demonstrably independent way. We are disappointed that this opportunity was not taken and that instead a recently retired senior civil servant was appointed through an entirely closed recruitment process.

63. These two events lead us to conclude that, at present, the title of 'independent adviser' is a misnomer. We regret Sir Alex Allan is therefore unsuited to a role which demands demonstrable personal independence from Government. We also regret that we were not given the opportunity to express these views before Sir Alex took up post. We do not in any way question Sir Alex's integrity, ability or commitment, but neither he nor the role to which he has been appointed is independent of Government in any meaningful sense.

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 17 March 2012