HC Deb 10 July 1998 vol 315 cc679-80W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment on what occasions(a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) his special advisers have met representatives of (i) GPC Market Access, (ii) Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn and (iii) GJW Government Relations since 1 May 1997; who attended such meetings; and what was discussed at them. [49632]

Dr. Howells

[holding answer 9 July 1998]: Ministers, their Special Advisers and other civil servants meet many people in the course of their work. This properly includes meetings with interest groups outside of Government; indeed, one of the specific functions of Special Advisers is to liaise with such interest groups. This liaison is intended to help Ministers draw upon outside contributions—from academics, think-tanks, trade and industry associations, trade unions, lobby groups and others, as well as relevant experience from other countries—during the process of policy analysis and development. By convention it is not the practice of governments to make information on such meetings or their content publicly available—a principle reflected in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information published in January 1997. Special advisers and other civil servants must observe the requirements of propriety: for instance, they must not provide confidential information with authorisation or allow improper influence on policy. Any breach of these requirements could be a disciplinary offence.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list those individuals who are not hon. Members or civil servants currently serving on review bodies and taskforces set up since May 1997 whose appointment was promoted or canvassed for by(a) GPC Market Access, (b) LLM, (c) GJW and (d) other professional lobbying organisations. [49769]

Dr. Howells

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him today,Official Report, columns 641–42, by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.