Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:41 pm on 9th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 10:41 pm, 9th September 2019

With that in mind, I submitted a freedom of information request to the Cabinet Secretary on 13 August asking for details of Government special advisers and, in particular, who they were employed by and whether they were paid out of the public purse. In the case of Mr Cummings, I asked whether, if he is not paid by public funds, he has security access to Downing Street and is treated in the same way as a special adviser paid out of public funds.

Mr Speaker, this is an incredibly important matter of public interest, particularly given that we are about to prorogue and potentially thereafter enter an election period. The Cabinet Office, when we had points of order earlier, replied saying that it would not provide a response to my freedom of information request, which is due tomorrow, until December. That is clearly unsatisfactory. I tried to raise it earlier with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but he refused to take any interventions. Given that we are about to prorogue for five weeks, what would you advise we do to ensure that public funds are not being misspent and used for Conservative party purposes in this way?