Press Notice 7, Session 2005-06


The recent spate of diaries published by former advisers to the Prime Minister has reignited the debate about the trust owed by those in positions of influence at the time of significant political events. PASC - the Public Administration Select Committee - will look at whether diary-keeping is threatening the quality of decision-making and what rules should govern publication of diaries and memoirs.

Lance Price, former Number Ten press aide and Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington and Chair of the Press Complaints Commission will be among those giving evidence to the Committee. Also giving evidence will be two former Cabinet Secretaries, Lord Wilson of Dinton and Sir Andrew Turnbull.

The current Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, told the Committee last month that he held “a moral position”. He was “strongly against the idea” of selling information in this way and was looking at how to stop it.


There will be two evidence sessions on this subject:

17 November: Lord Wilson of Dinton, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 1998-2002 and Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London at 10.00 am, Grimond Room, Portcullis House, London SW1.

15 December: Lance Price, former Deputy Communications Director at No 10, Sir Andrew Turnbull, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 2002-2005 and Sir Christopher Meyer, British Ambassador to Washington 1998-2003 and Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission from 10.00 am.


The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005.  Its terms of reference are to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen, and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments, and other matters relating to the Civil Service.

The Membership of the Committee is as follows:

Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), Julia Goldsworthy (Lib Dem) (Falmouth & Camborne), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Grant Shapps (Con) (Welwyn Hatfield), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

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