Tom Watson: Michael Moore has broken the ministerial code

Mr David Cameron MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street



22 December 2010

Dear Mr Cameron,


I enclose a copy of a press statement circulated today by Matthew Harvey of the Scotland Office, and the Scotland Office’s Press Office, in which Secretary of State Michael Moore MP gives his reaction to the Daily Telegraph story “Liberal Democrat ministers condemn scrapping of child benefit”.

As you will be aware, paragraph 1.1 of the Ministerial Code clearly states that “Ministers of the Crown are expected to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety.” In order to comply with this, the Code affirms “Ministers must not use government resources for Party political purposes” and that they “must uphold the political impartiality of the civil service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code as set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.”

Moreover, paragraph 6.1 of the Ministerial Code goes into greater detail and clearly states that “facilities provided to Ministers at Government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties should not be used for Party or constituency work”.

The circulating of the attached press release is quite clearly a breach of the Ministerial Code on all three of the counts I have outlined above. Michael Moore’s statement is overtly party political and Scotland Office resources have clearly been used in both its preparation and distribution.

This matter clearly warrants investigation. I would urge you to seek urgent advice from the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests in relation to this clear breach of the Code, and to consult with the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, as part of your discussions.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible regarding the outcome of your investigations.

Yours sincerely

Tom Watson

Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East

Cc       Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary

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