Ministerial Code

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:19 pm on 15th November 2005.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office) 8:19 pm, 15th November 2005

The important difference is that the Prime Minister reserves the right to decide who is in Government, to decide when an inquiry is necessary, and to appoint an independent person if required. Sir Alan Budd did indeed carry out that inquiry. As an eminent individual and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, he was the appropriate person called in by the Prime Minister. However, there is a strong belief that it is entirely impractical to appoint on a standing basis someone like Sir Alan Budd—Sir Anthony Hammond, for example, who carried out another investigation at the Prime Minister's request—and perhaps one or two other individuals. We expect to get people of good standing with great experience and high personal morality. Practically speaking, it is very difficult to require them to give a commitment to investigate what may initially be one case, but will subsequently lead to others as a consequence of allegations that may be well founded or may be based on media tittle-tattle.