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Government department refuses to publish guidance on financial interests

Caroline Spelman MP Regular readers of this page know that I am forever publishing examples of the Government refusing to answer questions for no good reason.

The Prime Minister recently insisted "I've been as open as I can, as transparent as I can" and that he has ended the culture of spin. This is of course satirical beyond description. It also chimes like a broken bell with a written answer to a question from Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman:

"To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the guidance in her Department's staff handbook on the declaration of gifts, hospitality and financial interests.

Mr. Khan: Our staff handbook has been developed as an interactive publication delivered through the Department's intranet. It is not held in a format which allows it to be easily exported and therefore could be provided only at a disproportionate cost."

The handbook could surely be printed off bit by bit and placed in the House of Commons Library. Or they could cut and paste it into a Word document. Or maybe it should have been produced in such a way that it could be "easily exported" - you know, in the interests of transparency and all that.

Tom Greeves


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