The Minister knows that it is a year since the Government faced swingeing criticism from the Commissioner for Public Appointments about the practice of stuffing national health service trust boards and health authorities with Labour crony appointments. In the 12 months since then, they have continued that practice in their appointments to the new primary care trust boards. Dame Rennie Fritchie has been—
What an extraordinary statement from a party that appointed a three-times failed Conservative candidate as chairman of the Yorkshire health authority—that was its approach to public appointments. The Labour party has co-operated with the Commissioner for Public Appointments and accepted her recommendations. If the hon. Gentleman reads the text of the report, he will see that the Government's appointment of local councillors reflects the proportion of councillors on the ground.
That is what the report says, unlike when the Conservatives were in government and they put their friends and their friends' wives into every appointment going.
I think it is recognised that the Commissioner for Public Appointments is doing a good job and I hope that she will soon be reappointed. However, what matters is which public bodies are covered by her remit. Will my hon. Friend ensure that new public bodies automatically come under her remit unless there is a good reason why they should not?
I thank my hon. Friend for that question. The Government have extended the number of appointments covered by the commissioner to more than 30,000. We always consider whether new bodies are appropriate for the Nolan process. However, bodies that are established quickly for specialist purposes and last for only two or three months are not appropriate for it.