CamerKey and BanksHunt

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, May 1st, 2012 - 7 comments
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David Cameron was livid over being called back from a campaign by former Conservative Speaker John Bercow to explain why he has not referred Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt to the official appointed to deal with breaches of the Ministerial code. Cameron has expressed confidence in Hunt, but tellingly according to the Guardian:

By the end of a one-hour statement that generated more heat than light, it did emerge that Cameron came to his current view that Hunt had not breached the ministerial code on the basis of the culture secretary’s verbal assurances, and without seeing any written evidence.

At a private meeting last Tuesday, Hunt assured Cameron and the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, that he had not been aware that his special adviser, Adam Smith, was systematically leaking information and advice to News Corp about its bid for BSkyB.

“On the basis of verbal assurances”, “without seeing any evidence”, Minister “not aware” – all sounds very familiar here.

With media on both sides of the world calling for their resignation, Banks and Hunt are in the tumbril, and Cameron and Key look and sound ever more evasive. Key is arguing that he can only act in regard to a Minister if they have done something illegal. But the Cabinet Manual says in regard to Conduct of Ministers:

2.52 A Minister of the Crown, while holding a ministerial warrant, acts in a number of different capacities:

  1. in a ministerial capacity, making decisions, and determining and promoting policy within particular portfolios;
  2. in a political capacity as a member of Parliament, representing a constituency or particular community of interest;
  3. in a personal capacity.

2.53 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.

Meanwhile Ed Miliband and David Shearer look and sound honest and on the right side of the ethical argument. The polls are changing too on both sides of the world.

Question Time should be interesting today.

7 comments on “CamerKey and BanksHunt”

  1. Banksfail 1

    But Banks wasn’t a minister at the time…
    So is it not a little more grey that you suppose?

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Yes, I was just thinking the same.

      The closest they can get to this is saying that Banks has lied to parliament/public/Key when answering questions about what he did back in 2010. Key has already said that if Banks lied he’s goneburger.

      • You_Fool 1.1.1

        Something any political figure should always engage in is to act in the highest ethical manner. This whole matter is not shinning any type of favourable light on politicians or ministers and as such Mr Banks should resign.

        • Lanthanide

          Certainly I agree, but the cabinet manual doesn’t apply to things he did before he was a minister, or indeed before he was even in parliament.

          Now the PM could decide that his past behaviour is unacceptable (see Peter Garrett) and ask him to stand down, but bringing up the cabinet manual is a bit of a distraction.

    • alex 1.2

      I agree that Banks has been caught lying, but I think the comparison between the two Tory governments is a little stretched. Let’s just stick to the facts of the Banks case, rather than trying too hard to make it look bad. It already looks terrible, there’s no need to take it in this direction.

  2. Shaz 2

    In a similar vein here is an article where you could insert Maori Party for Lib Dems and National for Conservative with a few shift changes on the actual issues. In the UK lib dems actually hold the balance of power of course compared with the MP who don’t – but have none the less been shockingly ineffective.

    “Have they made the coalition significantly, or even moderately, less Tory? The answer must be no.”

    “Even more difficult to explain is Lib Dem agreement to the spending cuts. These are brutal, almost without precedent, and their effect is to harm disproportionately those whom the Lib Dems claim to represent.”

    “Both leaders and members are aware that unless something is done to halt the general impression that the Lib Dems /are Tory poodles the future is neither bright nor orange”.

    “Unlike the Tories, they are not indifferent to life at the bottom, or even near the bottom, but political exigency has made it a low priority for them.”

    “The remaining three years could simply be death by a thousand cuts; their role ever more obviously to protect a very right-wing Conservative Party.”

    • rosy 2.1

      Good find…

      And this bit make the Lib Dems / Maori Party even more culpable than that their Tory partners..

      “Unlike the Tories, they are not indifferent to life at the bottom, or even near the bottom, but political exigency has made it a low priority for them.”

      We know what to expect from the NActs/Tories so people can only blame themselves for voting them in. Like the Prebble/Douglas people before, the LD and MP surprised/betrayed most of their supporters.

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