One of the many mysteries surrounding the Liam Fox/Adam Werritty controversy is what exactly Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary is supposed to be investigating.
Sir Gus took over the internal investigation into the relationship between the two men and their links with defence contractors earlier this week, but as yet, no terms of reference have been published.
Number 10 has told us repeatedly, “All unanswered questions will be answered.”
The Guardian yesterday ran a fascinating story on their front page about how Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the civil service, had “blocked” an attempt by Gordon Brown to hold a judicial review into phone hacking. We followed up the story on ft.com this morning.
Here are a few extra details which did not make the final cut and may be of interest:
Philip Stephens, the FT’s chief political commentator, reveals in his column this morning that a confidential paper is circulating in Downing Street suggesting that the government should consider in advance “if not a fully worked up Plan B then at least a series of possible stimulus measures that could be implemented were the economy to stall“. The paper is written by the cabinet secretary.
Here is a link to the column, which lays out some of Sir Gus’s suggestions to ministers.
Channel 4 have the tale tonight that Sir Gus O’Donnell wanted to quit in May but the coalition persuaded him to stay to ease the transfer. It’s a telling insight into the high reputation of the cabinet secretary (known as “GOD” for his initials) within Whitehall.
Sir Gus could now stay on for another year or two, by when he will be 60. In Channel 4′s phrase, “he does not intend to see out the next Parliament”.