The Home Affairs Committee is today writing to the Home Secretary’s preferred candidate for the role of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, to arrange a pre-appointment hearing.
Committee Chair Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP wrote:
HER MAJESTY’S CHIEF INSPECTOR OF CONSTABULARY
Thank you very much for your letter informing me of your preferred candidate to succeed Sir Denis O’Connor as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
Your letter refers to the date for the pre-appointment hearing. As you know, my committee clerks have been in continual contact with your office so that they could receive word of the candidate with enough time to circulate the relevant documents for a meeting on Tuesday 12 June. However, your letter arrived by e-mail at 17:44 on Thursday 7 June 2012. By this time, the Committee had arranged an alternative evidence session to avoid the entire session being cancelled. As you will appreciate, members of the committee also need time to see the documents before they interview a candidate of this importance.
In your response to my letter requesting the names of short-listed candidates, you referred to guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office. As you know, the Government has agreed to give committees up to three weeks in which to hold a hearing and publish their report. This gives a committee the necessary time to study the relevant papers.
The guidance suggests that the Committee should aim to give the witness at least a week’s notice of the session. I therefore propose that Mr Winsor should be available for a pre-appointment hearing either on Tuesday 19 June or Tuesday 26 June. Please come back to me today by 4pm indicating which Mr Winsor prefers. I have also written to him direct giving him a choice of dates.
Finally, may I point out that the first time I heard of your preferred candidate was in a telephone call from a Guardian journalist. I find this most worrying. On an issue of this importance, Parliament ought to be the first to know. Of course, I would also be glad to hear from you personally and you can call me on XXXX XXXX XXXX at any time.
May I express my gratitude for the outstanding service that Sir Denis has given as Chief Inspector. The Committee looks forward to seeing Mr Winsor.