Department for Work and Pensions: Defamation

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 12 March 2024.

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Photo of Liz Kendall Liz Kendall Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to paragraphs 7.16 and 7.17 of the Ministerial Code, on how many occasions Ministers in his Department have informed the Law Officers that they are the defendants in a libel action in (a) their personal capacity, (b) their official position and (c) both since 19 December 2019.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We are unable to provide the information requested. As reflected in paragraph 2.13 of the Ministerial Code, ‘The fact that the Law Officers have advised or have not advised and the content of their advice must not be disclosed outside Government without their authority’.

The Law Officers’ Convention, reflected in paragraph 2.13 of the Ministerial Code, is a long-standing convention observed by successive governments. It exists to preserve the ability of ministers to seek the advice of the Law Officers and not to be disadvantaged by disclosing when they have done so, and what advice they received.

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