LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS – WITNESSES AT SELECT COMMITTEES – 7 June 2018
[Pete Wishart: ... We have to make sure that if Ministers are asked to come before Select Committees, they come. It is not good enough for them to say that it is not their responsibility or that they answer to another Select Committee.]
Dr Julian Lewis: I endorse what the hon. Gentleman has just said. The same applies to senior officials. The Defence Committee very nearly got to the point of issuing a summons, but common sense broke through. The Government, whether Ministers or senior officials, are required to set a good example.
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Dr Lewis: May I just say to my hon. Friend [Dr Sarah Wollaston] in her role as Chairman of the Liaison Committee that she was enormously helpful to the Defence Committee – as were other members of the Committee – in getting the senior official to agree to come, and in getting the Prime Minister to agree to him attending the Defence Committee? In the end, it was a very valuable session. I do not know Mr Cummings, but I support his cause, and he is in danger of doing grave damage to the cause that he and I both support because the effect of his refusal is far more damaging than anything that could happen at a hearing if he actually gave evidence. Finally, may I appeal to her to stop using the word “backstop”, which, at the moment, is not my favourite expression?