Sir John Whittingdale
Is my right hon. Friend aware that on my appointment as a Minister, I, like many Members, was advised by Sue Gray on the steps that I needed to take in order to avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest? Does he therefore understand why her appointment has caused such anger right across the civil service, as it undermines that very principle of the perception of conflict?
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
I do. My right hon. Friend is right to draw on the fact that many senior civil servants are troubled by this. They know the vital importance of the bond of trust between Ministers and civil servants, and anything that might serve to undermine that is not healthy and is not good for the way we do business.