SACKING OF MIKE O'BRIEN – 28 June 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a statement next week from the Minister of State, Cabinet Office about the code of ministerial conduct and, in particular, about which of its provisions allows for the sacking of a competent junior Home Office Minister simply because he insisted on telling the truth about a telephone call from one of the Prime Minister's Cabinet cronies?

[NOTE: Mike O'Brien had refused to retract his statement that, as a junior Home Office minister, he had been telephoned by Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson about the Hinduja passport applications. This contributed to Mandelson's downfall. Several Conservative MPs – including Julian Lewis – wrote to the press protesting at the unfairness of O'Brien's sacking. After some months on the Back Benches, he returned to Government as a Foreign Office minister.]