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My view from Westminster

Questions on child abuse

02:03 pm, Mon 14th Jul 2014

 

 

 

I have now received some answers to the questions I have tabled (see below). More to follow.

 

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether any files on child abuse have been passed to her Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed. [205425]

 

Mr Timpson: In 2013 the Department for Education received information from the Department of Health which referred to 21 children’s homes and schools in England. This information had been uncovered as part of a document review process undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Service in the context of Operation Yewtree. The Secretary of State for Education gave details of this information in a written ministerial statement on 27 March 2014:

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140327/wmstext/140327m0001.htm#14032769000005

More generally, hon. and right hon. Members and concerned members of the public regularly write to the Department with concerns about child abuse or neglect, sometimes enclosing supporting documents. Such letters are dealt with as appropriate on a case by case basis.

 

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed; [205424]

(2) whether any files on child abuse have been passed to No. 10 Downing Street by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed. [205429]

 

Mr Maude: The Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

The Cabinet Office has no record of having been passed any files on child abuse by another Department or hon. Members

 

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the Government's policy is on waiving the obligations of officials under the Official Secrets Acts when they (a) provide evidence to official inquiries and (b) provide information privately to hon. Members. [205437]

 

Mr Maude: The obligations under the Official Secrets Act apply at all times.

Provision may be made for protected disclosures in certain circumstances.

 

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what No. 10 Downing Street's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989; [205435]

(2) what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989. [205430]

 

 

Mr Maude: The Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

The Cabinet Office complies with any relevant legislation, including the Official Secrets Act, when responding to written parliamentary questions.

Guidance to answering parliamentary questions is available online:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/drafting-answers-to-parliamentary-questions-guidance

 

 

UPDATE:

The following questions have now also been tabled:

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that the review by Peter Wanless will include any actions or discussions of government departments other than the Home Office in respect of the handling of the Geoffrey Dickens files.

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department holds any information indicating that the Geoffrey Dickens files were shared with or seen by any other government department.

 

 

 

I have submitted a number of questions regarding child abuse and the Official Secrets Act.

The ones that have so far been accepted are listed below - I will keep this page updated.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's policy is on waiving the obligations of officials under the Official Secrets Acts when they (a) provide evidence to official inquiries and (b) provide information privately to hon. Members.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to her Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Prime Minister, whether any files on child abuse have been passed to No. 10 Downing Street by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed.

 

 

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the Prime Minister, what No. 10 Downing Street's policy is on responding to parliamentary questions where the subject file or letter is within the scope of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

 

 

The next UK EU Commissioner...

01:52 pm, Tue 1st Jul 2014

 

 

Time for an expert, not a second rate cabinet member

 

Today I am calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that the UKs next European Commissioner is an experienced European negotiator, not a second rate cabinet member looking for a another chance to save their career and reputation.

 

Andrew Lansley and Andrew Mitchell are courting fellow MPs, the press and senior cabinet members as they vie for the position. Other names mentioned are arch Eurosceptics such as Bernard Jenkin or DEFRA Secretary Owen Paterson. All of these people are not up to the job, we need the UK to be represented by an expert negotiator.

 

How much any of these people know about the Liikanen proposals, the bail in and recovery and resolution drive or the banking union isn’t clear, but I’d be willing to bet that it isn’t much.

 

The next European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs will face generational defining challenges in trying to implement vital reforms to the European financial sector. There is a good chance that the UK will be able to have its Commissioner take this role and given the scale of the task facing them, it must be filled by someone with real experience and negotiating experience.

 

The European Union also has fundamental challenges over its political direction, structures and powers and a generalist politician is not what fits the current UK national interest.

 

The best choice to fulfil the role would be a career civil servant who has years of experience in implementing reforms and controlling a complex departments.

 

I believe that there are five obvious candidates. Former member of the Bank of England MPC Dame Kate Barker, current Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Sir Jon Cunliffe, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Sir Nicholas Macpherson, National Security Advisor Sir Kim Darroch and former Chairman of the FSA Lord Adair Turner.

 

 

Each of these have the track record, ability and competence needed to fill this role and negotiate within the Commission for Britain.

 

 

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