David Blackburn

Me? Sleight of hand?

Me? Sleight of hand?
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Two weeks ago, Barry Sheerman opened a second front against Brown's premiership by attacking Ed Balls’ appointment of Kathleen Tattersall to Ofqual without a pre-hearing before the Schools select committee. Brown had introduced a requirement that recommended appointments to offices that reported to Parliament be scrutinised by legislators prior to confirmation of their appointment. Sheerman, with characteristic venom, referred to a “sleight of hand”.

This afternoon, Balls defended himself and his permanent secretary, arguing that the committee did not object to the appointment when it was made in July 2008, and any rate the pre-hearing was not operational then.

I don’t know whose memory is accurate. If Balls is correct then the desperation of anti-Brownites has advanced to the extent that party is affecting parliamentary scrutiny; and if Sheerman is right then it’s another indictment of the government’s working practices and an indication of how devalued the Civil Service has become.