Examination of Witness (Questions 260-279)|
THURSDAY 7 MARCH 2002
260. It was probably guilt by association.
(Sir Richard Mottram) No, I am trying to be precise.
A number of events happened. They involved his part of the Department.
He was engaged in them. There was deep unease about some of what
went on, both inside the Department and across the Government,
as you know, because it was put into the public domain. We received
a rocket from the head of the Government Information and Communications
Service which was couched in really quite extreme terms. If you
look at the lobby briefings on 14 February, in particular the
one in the afternoon of 14 February, these are really very unusual
261. The fact that he seemed to have confirmed
the validity of an e-mail to the Daily Mirror that turned
out to be inaccurate, was that an offence to you?
(Sir Richard Mottram) That depends on whether he did.
262. We do not know that?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I do not think I should discuss
in front of the Committee whether he did or did not do such a
263. I am trying to find out why this gentleman
(Sir Richard Mottram) Let us be clear about this.
When I invited him to resign it was not on the basis that he had
himself been engaged with the Daily Mirror in relation
to the story they published on 14 February, so to that extent
whether he was or he was not was irrelevant when I invited him
to step down.
264. Just finishing off this section, why did
Jo Moore have to go?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Because she was the story.
265. She was the innocent party who had been
(Sir Richard Mottram) She was the innocent party who
had been leaked against in that particular case, but she was the
story. Why did I recommend that she should go, which I did do?
Because, in my view, what had now happened was a confirmation
of something that in a way we knew and we had been trying to manage
our way throughthat it was almost impossible for her to
operate without the media (and I do not wish to attack the media,
I am friendly with them, or I used to be!) turning it into a story
about her and a story about an e-mail. Her effectiveness, and
I am not being personal about her, I determindedly do not wish
to be personal about her or about anyone else I worked with, in
her case this was just the final confirmation of something that
I think Ministers knew; that her position had become impossible.
She increasingly, although I did not myself speak to her on that
day, knew that her position was impossible. This was in a way
the final confirmation that her position was impossible. If you
remember, Chairman, on the day that the Daily Mirror and
Mail or Express, I cannot remember I am sorry, published
those stories on 14 February she was being doorstepped outside
her house and so on. Her position was becoming very, very difficult.
266. But she had had you saying she was not
guilty of gross misconduct for the big e-mail back in September.
You had not been making representations about her behaviour to
the Secretary of State.
(Sir Richard Mottram) I might have been talking about
it but representations is a stronger word.
267. There we are. Then she is e-mailed against
and then she has to go.
(Sir Richard Mottram) She did not have to go; she
268. You are giving me dark looks.
(Sir Richard Mottram) No, I hope I am not, Chairman,
that would be quite wrong.
Chairman: We had better move to Anthony D.
269. Can we continue along those lines. In your
statement you said that one of Mr Sixsmith's criteria for resigning
was that Jo Moore should resign as well.
(Sir Richard Mottram) Yes.
270. Why do you think that should be? Why should
he ask for her resignation?
(Sir Richard Mottram) The logic of that was that we
were caught up in a situation which could not be resolved other
than by changes inside the Department and she was part of the
problem. I suppose it was easier for him to go in the context
that he was not the only person that went. Does that make sense?
271. I can understand your position, the suggestion
they both should go, but why should that be one of the criteria
that Mr Sixsmith would suggest he would agree to resign if she
would resign as well?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Perhaps because he had been
struggling to resolve issues around her role.
272. How is morale within the Department now?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I think that morale within the
Department is mixed. In most of the Department morale is quite
high. I have regular lunches with staff. I was at one this lunch-time
before I came here. I was talking to them about what they thought
about all of this. They were amicably amused about the pickle
their Permanent Secretary was in but they said, "We are getting
on with our jobs". They are an excellent group of people
and they get on with their jobs and do a very good job. The area
of the Department that I am obviously most worried about is the
press office because things have been very difficult for them.
They, too, are generally a very good collection of people and
they are getting on with their jobs.
273. Have many people asked to transfer to other
departments since this episode began?
(Sir Richard Mottram) None that I am aware of. Do
you mean people generally or in the press office?
274. Within that particular unit, yes.
(Sir Richard Mottram) There have probably
been one or two changes but they change over quite a lot. I did
look up the numbers and people move around quite a bit in the
information service bit of the Civil Service, for very good reasons.
I think there are ten people in the last six to nine months who
have moved out and we had recruited ten people in, so there is
275. I put to Mr Granatt last week that perhaps
one way out of the Department was to put forward an e-mail and
have to be transferred out of the Department. I suggested that
is probably the wrong way to run the Civil Service. Mr Granatt
replied that certainly he had put out in a letter that if anybody
was unhappy in the service, the worst thing would have been to
remove them to another department. Would that be normal procedure,
that people transfer if they were completely unhappy within a
(Sir Richard Mottram) Yes. If they were unhappy within
a department and their unhappiness related to relationships within
the department, the right course for us would be to find them
a job in a different context. If they are unhappy within the department
because they do not like the Civil Service the answer is for them
to go and get another job. There is quite a lot of turnover, particularly
amongst our younger talented people because there is a market
for younger talented people. What is absolutely and categorically
not acceptable is to seek to bring about results by leaking to
the media. The striking thing about these events is that one must
suspect that things were being done in the hope, so to speak,
of "getting Jo Moore" (I put that in inverted commas,
Chairman, I think it is a very offensive idea in every respect)
and what was done was that chaos was created and the Department's
reputation was seriously damaged. That is the message that I and
all the senior managers in the Department have been putting out
every day since 15 February. Leaking is completely unacceptable
full stop. It is also amazingly stupid, as these events would
276. Would somebody in that situation be removed
from the Civil Service altogether?
(Sir Richard Mottram) If it could be proved that they
had commited gross misconduct, yes.
277. Are you still continuing with the investigation
within the Department over the current leaks?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I have largely completed it.
278. When will Mike Granatt become involved
(Sir Richard Mottram) He will not.
279. Last week he said over succeeding weeks
he probably would become involved within that.
(Sir Richard Mottram) I do not know why he said that.
I can go back and check to make sure that we can reconcile what
I am saying with what he said, Chairman, which I am sure we will
be able tohe said in his Civil Service way! The way in
which this happens, I am very keen to get this on the record,
is we have established procedures for security investigations.
I instigated a security investigation. The security investigation
was completed on 1 March. It was conducted within the part of
the Department which deals with these things by the Department's
security officers. They put forward recommendations. If as a result
of that process we feel there isusing language quite loosely
a case to answer, then that case will be put to an individual
and then we apply the Department's disciplinary procedures which
are completely codified and strict and they are followed. We have
completed a security investigation. I do not envisage opening
another one into these events. One individual has been suspended
on full pay. I do not envisage others being suspended.