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Leaving the Eu: Customs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 16th May 2018.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 4:13 pm, 16th May 2018

I am not giving way at the moment.

The second principle is that officials must be able to give frank advice to Ministers in confidence. That includes memorandums and other papers provided to Cabinet Committees by some of the most senior officials in the civil service. There are Labour Members present who have themselves served in government; they know that those in the professional civil service used every ounce of their professional skill to help them, as Labour Ministers, deliver the objectives of the elected Governments in which they served. I have to ask: what would those Members say to those officials about a motion that might result in the making public of the advice of professional civil servants—people who of course can never answer back themselves—which they had thought was being given to Ministers in confidence?