Examination of Witness (Questions 240-259)|
THURSDAY 7 MARCH 2002
240. Perhaps I can just insert for the record
the fact that the Committee has received a letter from the person
in question emphasising the fact that she went to Brussels by
a determined choice and because, in a sense, of her excellence
rather than anything else. 
(Sir Richard Mottram) It is greatly to
her credit that she has this position in Brussels, which is a
stagiaire position, which is absolutely the thing we are trying
to get for all of our best young people. She has no cloud hanging
over her. She was never reprimanded, she was never rebuked and
I have the highest opinion of her.
Chairman: I would not like you to pursue that.
241. I am not going to. I was just checking
(Sir Richard Mottram) This was partly one of those
myths, you know.
242. It may well be, I just wanted to make it
(Sir Richard Mottram) Have I made it clear, Chairman?
243. Thank you very much. Her letter bears that
out. Can I move on, Kevin was talking about employment within
the special advisers and the Civil Service, I am intrigued because
the Secretary of State via the Sixsmith file dossier, as it is
now called, said that, in fact, it has been inferred by the Secretary
of State he personally blocked his chance of ever working in the
Civil Service again, is that the case?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Not at all. It is not the case.
It has been dealt with by the Secretary of State in the House
245. I just wondered, because I am interested
that Mr Sixsmith is saying something very clear in what is a very
long dissertation, that he feels that he will not be able to work
in the Civil Service again because his boss, his top boss said,
"I would rather we did not have you anywhere near us".
(Sir Richard Mottram) Both the Secretary of State
and I have dealt with this matter in the statement that I made
and I am happy to explain to the Committee how I came to make
that statementit is a pretty unusual thing for a Permanent
Secretary to have to doI made that statement and that touches
on these matters, the Secretary of State then dealt with them
very directly. What happened was the prospect and the possibility
of Mr Sixsmith having another job in the Civil Service was being
discussed. The Secretary of State made it clear in his statement
that he did not think, from his own perspective, that this was
a particularly good idea. There was no job available in DTLR for
Mr Sixsmith to take and if he were to be deployed in another department
that would have required a job in another department. We were
exploring with Mr Sixsmith that possibility and other possibilities
when he chose to go to the Sunday Times.
246. In other words, do you feel Mr Sixsmith
has been hard done by and that he has had to go public on what
he feels is a set of events and he feels he has been grievously
let down by the Department. Jonathan Baume who was in front of
us last week is taking up the case, he is acting for Mr Sixsmith.
He does feel there are fundamental problems here.
(Sir Richard Mottram) He can speak for himself, he
speaks for Mr Sixsmith because Mr Sixsmith is a member of his
trade union, I think. Does Mr Sixsmith have the right to feel
hard done by is a very interesting question. I would answer it
like this. I was certainly very keen that he, I and others would
work to manage these problems. He was committed to doing that.
For various reasons, that I do not quite know, it all went spectacularly
wrong. I touched on one of them. Events of this kind have lots
of little contributory causes, it all went pretty spectacularly
wrong. We were then having conversations with Mr Sixsmith, I devoted
an enormous amount of attentionI am not trying to get the
Committee's sympathy on this, why should Iexploring these
things with him. I put a proposal for how these matters might
be resolved to him on the Friday night, I cannot remember the
dateI have a chronology somewhereand on the Saturday
night I was telephoned and I was told this dossier was in the
Sunday Times. That all seemed to me to be a bit of a pity
because I was rather expecting the following Monday Mr Sixsmith
was going to respond to the proposition which I had put, which
was the third proposition I put on this matter.
247. If he had not gone to the Sunday Times
he would have been redeployed in the Civil Service?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I am not saying that, Chairman.
248. You seem to be saying that.
(Sir Richard Mottram) I am saying we were discussing
whether he might be redeployed in the Civil Service or if he was
not the terms under which he could go would meet his needs as
well as ours.
249. Yes. The details of the resignations, and
all of the rest of it, were announced together. It was announced
earlier than was originally planned, it was leaked, was it not?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I do not know whether it was
leaked, all I know is it was on Sky News, so I suppose it was
leaked. I was watching Sky News, it might have been some other
news, I do not know.
250. Are you looking into it?
(Sir Richard Mottram) No, I am not looking into it.
251. There have been more leaks than the Titanic.
If this was the MoD we would have sunk in the Gulf. Are you looking
at these leaks? I think somebody was quoted as saying, "The
Number 10 twerp". What is going on here? Are you seriously
looking at all these leaks?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I have had an investigation
into all the events between February 11 and February 14 which
has gone into great detail on what happened, what led to the stories
in the newspapers, what happened on 14 February. All that has
been investigated in great detail. I have not myself set in hand
a leak investigation in relation to how the news of the resignations
of Martin Sixsmith and Jo Moore came to be on the news at 4.45
because I have no evidence whatsoever that that news came from
252. I do not see how else it could have got
there unless Ms Moore or Mr Sixsmith leaked it themselves.
(Sir Richard Mottram) Other people knew about it.
253. It was a departmental leak or a Number
10 leak? Is that what you are saying?
(Sir Richard Mottram) No, I am saying other people
knew about it.
254. Or the Cabinet Office?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Or whatever. All I am saying
is I have not thought it productive to launch an investigation
in relation to my Department.
255. So we do not lose this and have to come
back to it again. You corrected me when I suggested a moment or
two ago that Mr Sixsmith could have been redeployed in the Civil
Service but for going to the Sunday Times. Let us be clear,
was that still one of the options that was available?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Yes. I want to be very careful
with the Committee on this. I am talking about things we really
should not be talking about but since they have all been in the
newspapers, perhaps it makes it easier. I had put a proposition
to him which was a proposition about his leaving the Civil Service
on mutually agreed terms. He could have come to me on the following
Monday and said, "This does not quite fit the bill. Are you
still sure that I can't work in the Civil Service?" And I
would have thought about whether that was or was not the case.
256. What was his offence?
(Sir Richard Mottram) What was his offence?
(Sir Richard Mottram) His position was untenable,
I think, for a number of reasons to do with the way in which his
part of the Department conducted itself in that week.
258. So the offence was that his bit of the
Department had broken down?
(Sir Richard Mottram) A number of ill-judged things
were done for which he was personally responsible.
259. Not that he had necessarily done them?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Not that he had necessarily
done them but not that he had necessarily not done them.
1 See Ev 54 (GI