HC Deb 27 July 1988 vol 138 c253W
Dr. Cunningham

To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish in theOfficial Report the terms and conditions of service attaching to political and special advisers to (a) herself, (b) Secretaries of State and (c) Ministers, with particular reference to political activity outside their paid duties.

The Prime Minister

Special advisers are civil servants. They have the same conditions of service, except as regards superannuation and severance, and are subject to the same rules of conduct as other civil servants, with the exception of the rules governing the acceptance of outside appointments after resignation or retirement and certain aspects of the rules on political activities. All the other provisions of the Civil Service pay and conditions of service code therefore apply to them.

There are two areas of political activity where special advisers may be allowed more freedom than other civil servants. With the approval of the Minister they may (a)attend party functions and maintain contact with party members; and (b)take part in policy reviews organised by the party.

In addition, and subject to the approval of the Minister, special advisers are permitted to undertake all forms of local political activity provided they observe the rule of discretion applicable to civil servants. This does not include local activites in support of national politics.

Political advisers are not civil servants and are not paid from public funds. Although the provisions of the Civil Service code are not generally appropriate, political advisers are required to avoid conflict of interest between their work for Ministers and their private and business affairs.