Rapid criticism of Public Accounts Committee reports from Quentin Davies (defence minister) and David Lammy (higher education minister) have resulted in the Treasury issuing a memo warning that such behaviour can result in ministers being censured.
As the November edition of Public Servant reports:
An attack by two ministers on parliamentary reports revealing waste and incompetence in their departments has provoked the Treasury to warn that ministers will face public censure if they make immediate statements to the media on future reports.
Statements by defence minister Quentin Davies and higher education minister David Lammy have led to a new Whitehall member to accounting officers banning attacks on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports before the Treasury can make a considered response.
In other words: don’t rush to the media saying PAC reports are rubbish before the Treasury has even had time to work out a proper analysis of their reports.
It’s not just when presented with new information though that David Lammy’s actions are suspect. It’s often forgotten that Baby Peter was a constituent of his (rather than of Lynne Featherstone’s) given how quiet he has been about both the tragedy itself and the chaotic and flawed management within Haringey’s social services department that inspections have uncovered.
As I wrote in December:
David Lammy was warned by a whistle blower of severe problems in Haringey six months before Baby P’s death. Yet as Paul Waugh pointed out in the Evening Standard, David Lammy was happy to defend Sharon Shoesmith and Haringey Council even after this warning and after Baby P’s death.
And the least said about David Lammy’s Celebrity Mastermind appearance the better… All in all, David Lammy seems to be accumulating a rather unfortunate record as an MP even if he’s managed to escape the expenses scandal by virtue of being several years early with his second home claims.